Date of Award
Karen Gevirtz, Ph.D
Jonathan Farina, Ph.D
Breastfeeding, Domestic Discourse, Domesticity, Eighteenth-Century Britain, Gender Identity, Male Authority, Maternal Authority, Maternal Body, Motherhood, Patriarchy
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.
Pollaro, Danielle, "Becoming Pamela: The Fight for Maternal Authority in Pamela II" (2017). Seton Hall University Dissertations and Theses (ETDs). 2306.