Thomas Hardy as ecofeminist author with examples from his major tragic novels
The research and writing of this thesis began with strong interest in the compelling area of ecofeminist theory (specifically, its successful application to literary theory) and the realization that Thomas Hardy’s tragic fiction seemed to echo many of the assertions made by contemporary ecofeminist critics. A close reading of Hardy’s last four tragic novels revealed seemingly limitless approaches within an ecofeminist reading of Hardy’s work, so a reading from a perspective viewing the author as ecofeminist developed. In the interests of accuracy and tracing social causes of Victorian era events that contributed to Hardy’s ecofeminism, the research necessary was diverse and interconnected in many ways. Industrial Revolution, urbanization, changes in social norms, and tension caused by gendered roles shifting all become apparent in a study of Victorian England’s social atmosphere, and all these events occur during a vast change to the country’s natural environment and mankind’s necessary interactions with nature. The web of interconnections required by virtually all cultural theory becomes clearly visible, as did Thomas Hardy’s cultural experiences and personal beliefs. Indeed, Hardy was concerned with the plights of women, nature, and other non-dominant portions of his world; just as ecofeminism asserts, Hardy portrays a world in which oppression by a male-dominated society is at the root of countless problems and inequities.
Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of English.