Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Chronicle of Anxiety: Dissolving Interiorities and Fractured Exteriorities in the Works of Shirley Jackson
by Bodin, Courtney, M.A., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2018, 89; 10824987
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis is a critical examination of a handful of the works of Shirley Jackson. It is an attempt at engaging in critical scholarship that for many years has been relatively lacking. In it, her stories “The Summer People,” “Pillar of Salt,” and “The Daemon Lover” are examined alongside her novels Hangsaman and The Haunting of Hill House. This thesis addresses the ways in which Shirley Jackson writes the interior worlds of her protagonists and explores how those interiors are often physically linked to the physical worlds that these characters inhabit. Particularly, this thesis examines how Jackson writes the dissolution of her characters’ fragile interiorities in the face of trauma spurred on by society’s oppression of women. Each section of this thesis attempts to examine how Jackson creates coping mechanisms for these protagonists and how these coping mechanisms fail to provide comfort and safety for her protagonists as their stories progress. By the end of this thesis, it is clear that Jackson’s work is a bleak chronicle of trauma and anxiety. In the starkest terms, she exposes just how few options women have in the face of a society that refuses to allow them to be whole individuals.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ingram, Shelley
Commitee: Laudun, John, Wu, Yung-Hsing
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: MAI 58/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Folklore, American literature
Keywords: Exteriority, Folklore, Interiority, Jackson, Shirley, Trauma
Publication Number: 10824987
ISBN: 978-1-392-04159-8
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