Date of Award

Summer 8-3-2011

Degree Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Michael Galchinsky

Second Advisor

LeeAnne Richardson

Third Advisor

Paul Schmidt

Abstract

Surrogate motherhood abounds in nineteenth-century fiction. Governesses, nurses, aunts, and close family friends often form strong attachments with young girls, guiding them through life and their comings-of-age. Many surrogate mothers train their “daughters” according to the rules of societal expectations that mothers and daughters have cordial, respectful relationships, where the mother is unselfish, loving, and sympathetic toward her respectful, obedient, honest daughter. Many other nineteenth-century novels, however, depict surrogate mothers who are cruel, selfish, and unloving toward their “daughters.” While the role of the surrogate mother exists in various forms, it is regardless a strong presence in nineteenth-century fiction that leads daughters to choose to become surrogate mothers themselves.

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