Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Murray Brown - Chair

Second Advisor

Malinda Snow

Third Advisor

Paul Schmidt


This thesis seeks to portray how an objectifying intra-diegetic gaze influences and constructs the plot devices Frances Burney uses in her four novels: Evelina, Cecilia, Camilla, and The Wanderer. Burney creates a literary reality within her four novels’ narratives and breaks that reality down with the influence of the gazes and judgments of her novels’ characters upon each of her heroines. The gaze is an almost microscopic examination that objectifies and depersonalizes all of Burney’s heroines. Burney shows how the gaze shifts perspectives and manipulates that which it objectifies. Burney places her audience and her heroines into unfamiliar situations and then she shows the costs and benefits of reasserting one’s gaze. This thesis will show how Burney portrays the power of objectification in her novels upon her heroines, and the consequences that arise from the tensions of bombarding social gazes in all their duplicitous forms.