Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MA English

Department

English

Advisor

Karen Gevirtz, Ph.D

Committee Member

Jonathan Farina, Ph.D

Keywords

Breastfeeding, Domestic Discourse, Domesticity, Eighteenth-Century Britain, Gender Identity, Male Authority, Maternal Authority, Maternal Body, Motherhood, Patriarchy

Abstract

In Pamela, Volume II, Pamela and her husband, Mr. B, clash over breastfeeding their child. The conflict over breastfeeding represents a contest for control over the maternal body and with it control over woman’s authority. The eighteenth-century created the concept of motherhood in order to maintain and perpetuate the patriarchy’s social, economic and sexual hierarchies. Pamela, Volume II propagates eighteenth-century domestic discourse by instructing and constructing the idea of the good wife and mother. Pamela’s failure to resist domesticity reveals patriarchy’s role in establishing gender identity. The novel functions to reinforce, strengthen and sustain eighteenth-century domestic discourse to stabilize the aristocratic patriarchy.

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