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Title: The Female Hobo in the Twentieth Century: Representation and Recovery
Author: Hall, Joanne
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2007
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Abstract:
'The Female Hobo in the Twentieth Century: Representation and Recovery,' is the first attempt to trace the figure ofthe female hobo through a variety of twentieth century literary sources, some of which have not previously received academic attention. The materials examined include manuscript and archival sources, autobiography, the comic strip, literary fiction, children's novels and cinematic texts. Thus, the thesis develops and broadens the manner in which the female hobo is discussed by increasing the source material under consideration. Relatively well known texts are interrogated alongside little considered material in order to create a thematic framework within which to situate individual pieces; a strategy not previously attempted by a thesis-length work. This creates a space for less well known pieces, and extends the discussion of sources that have received some attention. The thesis observes that the female hobo is often depicted as a deviation from the male hobo norm and occluded from hobo discourse. Indeed, scholarship continues to suggest that the female hobo is hidden from history. Chapter One examines Jack Black's You Can't Win: The Autobiography ofJack Black (1926), Harry Kemp's Tramping on Life (1923), Jack London's The Road (1907) and Jim Tully's Beggars of Life (1924) in order to describe and complicate the construction ofa hobo norm and illustrate the usage of common hobo tropes and motifs. Chapter Two discusses Ethel Lynn's The Adventures ofa Woman Hobo (1917), Barbara Starke's Born in Captivity: The Story ofa Girl's Escape (1931) and Ben L. Reitman's Sister ofthe Road: The Autobiography ofBox-Car Bertha, as told to Dr Ben L. Reitman (1937) to analyse the strategies involved in constructing a female hobo identity. Chapter Three interrogates sections ofHarold Gray's long running comic strip, Little Orphan Annie, focusing on material from 1927. It also discusses The Journey ofNatty Gann (1985), directed by Jeremy Kagan, Cynthia Defelice's Nowhere to Call Home (1999) and Laurel Nebel's The Iron Road Home (1999), all of which are used to probe the manner in which the hobo journey is depicted as a potentially transformative space. Chapter Four analyses Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping (1980), concentrating on the hobo qualities present within the novel. The thesis employs fictional and autobiographical interpretations to challenge the conventional understanding ofthe hobo. Within these dynamic and fluid representations, the idea ofa hobo norm is reinterpreted and redefined. Close textual analysis interrogates these texts and reveals that these sources depict the minority status ofthe female hobo, while simultaneously finding fruitful subject matter in the exploration ofmetaphorical and literal states of marginality. Issues of performance, creativity, storytelling, transformation and self-actualisation are of particular importance to a number of texts. The female hobo does indeed wander through text and culture; this is especially apparent in the material produced by an active contemporary hobo subculture termed hobo-punk. Thus, the study ofthe female hob is far from static.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: University of Nottingham, 2007 Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.485532  DOI: Not available
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