Date of Graduation

7-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in English (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

English

Advisor

M. Keith Booker

Committee Member

Charles Adams

Second Committee Member

Susan Marren

Keywords

Language, literature and linguistics; Social sciences; Children's literature; Class; Gender; Nineteeth-century american literature; Race

Abstract

Orphan iconography has always been deployed in American literature and culture, but nineteenth-century American literature, fiction in particular, abounds in orphans, both real and imaginary. The orphan’s amphibious nature is hailed and demonized as the epitome of individualism and unbridled freedom, and also as the location of society’s anxiety. This complicated and conflicted construction of orphans animates the Social and cultural realm in postbellum America, foregrounding issues of class, race, and gender.

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