2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Mapping the Strong Woman in Steinbeck
Perrin C. Carrell
Prof. Mark Spitzer, Faculty Mentor

The theme of the strong woman appears often in Steinbeck, but in different, even polarized forms. Strong women frequently precipitate action or serve as centers around which everything else revolves; and often women who are not strong at first evolve into strong characters later. This paper first defines strength and puts it in context, then maps the theme of the strong woman. It covers the best examples, whether those are found in Steinbeck's major works like East of Eden, or in his lesser-known short stories. The paper applies to these characters both a thematic and a New Historical reading, which is supplemented by letters from Elaine Steinbeck to Dr. Tetsumaro Hayashi, who donated them, courtesy of Mr. John B. Straw, Director of Special Collections at Ball State University, Indiana.

Keywords: Steinbeck, Women, English, Naturalism, New Historicism


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 27-1
Location: VH 1232
Time: 9:45 am

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