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Negotiating Self: Strategies of Selfhood in Austen, Brontë, and Alcott
Cicero-Erkkila, Erica Eileen

2012, BA, Kent State University, College of Arts and Sciences / Department of English.
Austen, Brontë, and Alcott all demonstrate the issue of self while living within the confines of the domestic. Emma Woodhouse embraces her self and the domestic while living with her father, but is brainwashed into believing that her self is destructive and must therefore be eradicated to please Knightley. When Emma destroys her self to embrace the selfless domestic she forfeits all potential for future happiness because her marriage to Knightley can never be equal if she gives up her self. Jane Eyre fully embraces her self as a child and over time learns to find a balance between self and society which allows her to marry the man that she loves while remaining true to her inner self. Initially Jane cannot marry Rochester even though he loves her because he wants to change her by forcing her into the selflessness of socialization. Although Jane is socialized and lives within the barriers of the domestic she cherishes her self too much to give it up. Therefore after Bertha’s death Rochester is able to appreciate Jane’s self and they are able to marry as equals which gives Jane and Rochester the potential for happiness in their marriage. Finally Jean Muir fully embraces her self throughout the novel and simply masks her self to gain some control over her life. Jean will have to pretend to be a selfless woman while her husband lives but this act does not risk her self. Since Jean does not compromise her self through marriage and will be able to gain financial independence and comfort through as Sir John’s wife she does have the potential for happiness. Although women were oppressed and encouraged to give up their self Austen, Bronte, and Alcott are able to demonstrate the potential dangers of society on women through their novels.
Kimberly Winebrenner, PhD (Advisor)
Vera Camden, PhD (Committee Member)
Suzanne Holt, PhD (Committee Member)
Sara Newman, PhD (Committee Member)
114 p.

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Cicero-Erkkila, E. (2012). Negotiating Self: Strategies of Selfhood in Austen, Brontë, and Alcott. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Cicero-Erkkila, Erica. "Negotiating Self: Strategies of Selfhood in Austen, Brontë, and Alcott." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Kent State University, 2012. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 04 May 2015.

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Cicero-Erkkila, Erica "Negotiating Self: Strategies of Selfhood in Austen, Brontë, and Alcott." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Kent State University, 2012. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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