Date of Award

Fall 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Kelly Nims

Second Advisor

Marlene Hennessy

Academic Program Adviser

Amy Robbins


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.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.