Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

LeeAnne Richardson - Chair

Second Advisor

Marilynn Richtarik

Third Advisor

Margaret Mills Harper


In this thesis I argue that understanding Forster’s effeminate male characters is central to understanding the novels that they appear in. Tibby in Howards End and Cecil in A Room with a View are often viewed as inconsequential figures that provide comic relief and inspire pity. But if, instead of keeping them at the margins, readers put Tibby and Cecil in direct contact and conflict with the dominant themes of gender identity, gendered power structures, and gender equality in these novels, these characters develop a deeper significance that details the fin de siècle’s ever-changing attitudes regarding prescribed gender roles for both men and women. Indeed, by examining Forster’s feminized male characters, one can chart the development of these roles in both the larger world and Forster’s prescription for gender evolution in his novels.