Date of Award

6-20-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Abstract

Curley's wife in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and the girl in Meridel LeSueur's The Girl remain nameless throughout their stories, a problem here considered indicative of behavior against societal expectation and thus oppositional to the 1930s capitalist hegemony. The characters' alternative approaches to the conventionally public aspect that is work and the conventionally private facet that is sexuality are considered, two subjects that are customarily noted as important to these authors as integral to both identity and to the formation of community. The comparison shows that a more personal and private valuation of work and a more public appreciation of sexuality best challenges and attests as arbitrary the adverse conditions.

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