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 English

Committee Chair

Kendra Parker

Committee Member 1

Lindsey Chappell

Committee Member 2

Jane Rago


This thesis examines the monstrous mothers in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), Octavia E. Butler’s Dawn (1987), and Rachel Yoder’s Nightbitch (2021). Stoker’s Dracula serves as the foundational, or “mother,” text in terms of the model monstrous mothers: Dracula and Lucy Westenra. Dawn and Nightbitch provide more contemporary examples of monstrous mothers, yet they are different enough to contrast each other: Lilith in Dawn must navigate motherhood living amongst an alien species, and Nightbitch is a stay-at-home mom who starts turning into a dog. This thesis also establishes 7 Markers of Monstrous Motherhood as a critical framework for classifying monstrous mothers. I argue that monstrous mothers have no choice but to become monstrous through the overwhelming burdens that society places on motherhood, but once they deviate from the norm, they are Othered. Literary scholars may use the findings of this thesis to continue interrogating the demands of motherhood and how the definition of a monstrous mother may change as society’s anxieties—and thus its expectations for mothers—also change.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material