Date of Award

Fall 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Departments/Programs

English

First Advisor

Kelly Nims

Second Advisor

Marlene Hennessy

Academic Program Adviser

Amy Robbins

Abstract

This paper theorizes that authors, in an act I have termed “literary exorcism,” project and expunge parts of their identities that are in conflict with the overriding political agenda of their texts, into the figure of the villain. Drawing upon theories of power put forth by Judith Butler, I argue that this sort of projection arises in reaction to dominant ideas and institutions, but that authors find ways to manipulate this process over time. By examining a broad cross-section of English-language literature over several centuries, this phenomenon and its evolution can be observed, as well as the means by which authors have used it as a method of challenging or subverting dominant ideologies.

 
 

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