2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Madman in the Attic: Possession, Power, and Hypocrisy in Cather’s The Professor’s House
Stacey D. Walker
Dr. Alanna Preussner, Faculty Mentor

Stacey Walker explores the roles of possession, power, and hypocrisy in Willa Cather’s The Professor’s House. Based on Marilyn Frye’s theory that access and possession are embodiments of power, Professor Godfrey St. Peter's hypocritical disdain for women’s consumerism reflects his antifeminist attitude about the loss of his domestic superiority to the increasing empowerment of women. His antifeminist attitudes are analyzed concerning the myths of the angel of the house and the madwoman in the attic as his idealistic views of women that taint both his treatment of his wife and servant, Augusta. Walker, under mentor Dr. Alanna Preussner, argues that St. Peter himself embodies the “madman” in the attic, who, after his near death experience, decides to remodel himself after Augusta, the arguable angel of the house.

Keywords: possession, power, hypocrisy, feminist theory

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 26-1
Location: VH 1428
Time: 9:45 am

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