USonian identity has been defined controversially since its inception. Its representatives have largely been independent, white, wealthy, male, and heterosexual. However, the actual population of the US is more diverse and possesses much more complex identities. Some of the identifying factors of USonians derive from the US tradition of self-making. Traditional US self-made narratives, as with larger definitions of US identity, lack a full inclusivity and nationally representative characters, as scholars such as Mary Carden explain. However, rather than simply disappearing, traits of the US self-made man, as part of a larger national identity, continue to exist but in ways more suitable to the US nationality that has developed. For example, some of the newer versions of US self-makers include women, ethnic minorities, and homosexuals.
The more important elements of the changing definitions of US identity and self-making, community building and belonging, arises when more diverse representatives appear in texts ranging from Susan Sontag’s In America to works like Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. This dissertation studies more communal self-making models as well as US representatives who are recognized within texts and by readers in works by authors such as Philip Roth. The modeling of these characters results in the opportunity for readers to identify with them and/or some of their contexts. Such a relationship sets the foundation for what I have termed “fabulous ordinariness.” This means that despite possessing some fabulous or extraordinary storylines or characteristics, there are daily events, interactions, or traits that readers can empathize with, connect with, or feel represents them. Such experiences with the characters and texts provide the space for a representative relationship to be established and articulated as such.
The redefinitions of self-making and US identity, along with the enactment of fabulous ordinariness, ask readers to consider how culture, identities, and nationalities are preserved, challenged, and protected. Scholarship addressing traditional US role-models, along with works that support and challenge those representatives and roles, examines contemporary US identities and their connection to the past. This dissertation asks questions concerning the boundaries between fiction and history, culture and its artifacts, as well as readers and their texts.
|Commitee:||Downing, David, Sell, Mike|
|School:||Indiana University of Pennsylvania|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 78/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||American studies, American literature|
|Keywords:||Gender roles, Historical fiction, Literary representatives, US diversity, US identity, USonian|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be