Date Approved

2018

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English Language and Literature

Committee Member

Annette Wannamaker, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Amanda Allen, PhD, Second Reader

Abstract

By applying deconstructive and feminist theories to the Wonder Woman saga, this thesis develops a potential definition of feminine narrative in contrast to the normative and exclusionary patriarchal narrative that reigns supreme in popular culture and Western ideology. Though much of comics discourse functions on the assumption that superhero narratives are homogenous reflections of this ideological hero narrative, I posit that the Amazonian princess's resilience and iconicity stem from her own narrative's uniquely deconstructive nature: Where the patriarchal story would demand dominance, destruction, and violence, the feminine narrative that Diana models advocates for equality, nurturance, and emotional and rational communication. By examining the historical and literary texts that influenced her as well as her own influences on popular culture, this thesis shows Wonder Woman counteracting the patriarchal hero narrative and its binaries in favor of a more equalizing and nurturing feminine narrative that serves to empower herself and her readers.

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