Suppressed Voices: Women and Class in the Fiction of Susan Glaspell
2016-01-08T16:35:51Z (GMT) by
This thesis aims to revive Susan Glaspell’s name and reputation as an important fiction writer. For some time now Glaspell’s name has been somewhat displaced from the American literary canon and her fiction all but forgotten. Indeed, it is for her dramatic output that Glaspell is remembered; if she is remembered at all. I shall examine Glaspell’s fiction in relation to her life to show how she uses real life instances and contemporary social events to reflect on the socio-cultural status of women. My thesis will examine Glaspell’s fictional oeuvre by looking at some of the thematic issues concerning women’s subject matters which dominate Glaspell’s short stories and novels. The various chapters of this thesis are organised around the social issues, salient problems pertinent to the beginning to mid-twentieth century period, which Glaspell addresses. The issues I explore concern class, gender and identity. Class distinctions and discrimination are topics which Glaspell addresses due to her own complex relations with class and her own experiences in coming from a ‘downwardly mobile’ family. I will also examine Glaspell’s presentation of the complex relationship between class and women’s perception of themselves in society, specifically the early twentieth-century Midwestern society which Glaspell utilises throughout her writing. Finally, I will discuss Glaspell’s utilization of silence in the form of absent characters and as a medium of expression. My argument is that Glaspell deploys silence as a sign of power. This idea refutes the notion that women’s silence (in different forms) is synonymous with women’s cultural absence. Exploring Glaspell’s fiction oeuvre, this thesis hopes to reinvigorate Glaspell’s scholarly reputation and name as a culturally relevant, early twentieth century American novelist and short story writer.