Term of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Literature and Philosophy

Committee Chair

Olivia Carr Edenfield

Committee Member 1

Candy B. K. Schille

Committee Member 2

Caren Town


Author's abstract: McTeague, Frank Norris's Naturalistc text written in 1899, depicts the corruption of a California couple due to influences outside of their control. In positioning Trina McTeague as a woman unable to identify with either of the two major feminine ideologies of the day, the Angel in the House and the New Woman, this paper examines her identity as conflicted because of this lack of autonomy. Her failure to identify herself leads to a mental break that is reflected in the domestic spaces she inhabits. The places she lives each become smaller and dirtier reflecting her diminished mental capacity. All the while, Trina works to fill her trunk, a substitute domestic space, with coins in an attempt to build value for herself the only way she knows how: monetarily. This paper analyzes the feminine ideologies at the turn of the twentieth century focusing on the concept of identity and how it links to the domestic space.

Research Data and Supplementary Material