Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Comparative Literature


Giancarlo Lombardi

Committee Members

Monica Calabritto

Morena Corradi

Subject Categories

Italian Literature | Women's Studies


Italy, home, space, women, subjectivity, patriarchy, surveillance


With an in-depth analysis of selected Italian novels written by female writers from the 1950s to the early 2000s, this dissertation addresses and discusses the challenging relationship between female identity and the home, perceived both as constraining space and metaphor of human interiority. The projects aim to show that these characters, as representative of the female individual, are capable to use the domestic space as a privilege universe in which re-defining themselves, modifying their own and other perception as passive objects of patriarchal society to the one of subjects in fieri.

If, on one hand, the house has been for decades associated with female confinement, as a restrictive space where the woman is exiled, on the other hand these characters show how a woman, through a change involving and evolving around herself and the house, can re-define her role, even within those limits. This happens not only by challenging the patriarchal rules but also thanks to an innovative appropriation of the same spaces that patriarchy wanted – and still largely wants – to impose over women. In this way, women can confront the laws of submission forced upon them by male power and challenge them for an active definition of their identity.

While traditionally the woman endured a centripetal force that would push her from the outside into the domestic space, associated with security and protection, this project aims to show the ability of the chosen writers to create literary examples where the female character deals, at the opposite, with a centrifugal force coming from the house walls to the social space, from centuries considered the predominant place of men.