Term of Award

Spring 2024

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

Committee Chair

Caren Town

Committee Member 1

Lisa Costello

Committee Member 2

Bradley Edwards


The increased ethical scrutiny on art in the modern era places an emphasis on how those art forms are being taught in the classroom. This thesis seeks to answer the question: how do we teach ethics, if we should at all, when we teach literature to a modern audience? This thesis explores this question by looking at how modern adaptations of an ancient text, the “Hymn to Demeter,” change the ethical issues in the original text, to show the relevance of these issues in the source text and the modern adaptations. Through an argument that the ethical concerns are often necessary to understand the plot points, literary traditions, and literary devices in the adaptations, this thesis argues that (1) ethics should be taught and (2) both the past and the present of the ethical concerns, both the time the piece was written in and the time it is being taught in, should be discussed when teaching literature. This thesis uses Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847), Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight (2005), and Rachel Smythe’s Lore Olympus (2018-present) as the adaptations of the “Hymn to Demeter.”

Research Data and Supplementary Material