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Title: Representations of women and aspects of their agency in male authored proletarian experimental novels from thirties America
Author: Al-Tarawneh, Anoud Ziad
ISNI:       0000 0004 7961 5154
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis investigates the layered representations of women, their agency, and their class awareness in four leftist experimental novels from 1930s America: Langston Hughes' Not Without Laughter, Jack Conroy's The Disinherited, John Dos Passos' The Big Money, and John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. It argues that the histories these novels engage, the forms they integrate, and the societal norms they explore enable their writers to offer a complex, distinct, sense of female representation and agency. All four novels present stereotyped or sentimentalised portrayals of women from the traces of early twentieth-century popular culture, a presentation which the novels' stories explore through nuanced, mobilised, or literally as well as figuratively politicised images of women. In order to investigate these representations, I read each novel within its associated cultural context. I also employ feminist and cultural historians' ideas about women's complex roles in 1930s America and earlier decades; cultural historians' arguments about the decade's documentary culture and its popular modes of expression; and literary historians' arguments about the blending of modernist form and leftist content in the decade's proletarian writings. The study contends that in their various and always changing representations of women these novels explore a spectrum of female agency within the sphere of proletarian politics and challenge the gendered conventions predominant in early twentieth century America.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PS American literature