Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The holy Hermaphrodite: Gender construction, gothic elements, and the Christ figure
by Sears, Samantha, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2013, 73; 1523321
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis explores Julia Ward Howe's unfinished manuscript, The Hermaphrodite (2004). In order to establish a foundation, this thesis begins by approaching The Hermaphrodite through lenses that connect to Howe's life and times. The biographical, feminist, and gothic approaches analyze the effects of personal conflicts, gender concerns, and setting nuances on the manuscript. The analysis of previous treatment of hermaphrodites provides background on ambiguous protagonists. Ultimately, this thesis expands upon and diverges from preceding scholarship, and it establishes a new perspective through which to view the hermaphroditic protagonist, Laurence. This thesis argues that Howe's Laurence can be read as are-visioned Christ figure. His/her physical description is strikingly reminiscent of the accounts of Jesus's appearance. Both Jesus and Laurence are entwined with pious symbols. Laurence is intrinsically connected to the purity of the cross. Most importantly, Laurence and Jesus both gallantly endure burdens and selflessly sacrifice themselves for others while transiently inhabiting earth before returning to heaven. Laurence is an unexpected and reinvented savior.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sheley, Nancy
Commitee: Mohr, William, Zitzer-Comfort, Carol
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: English
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 52/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: LGBTQ studies, American literature, Gender studies
Keywords: Howe, Julia Ward, The Hermaphrodite
Publication Number: 1523321
ISBN: 978-1-303-20889-8
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