Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Marti Singer - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Hocks

Third Advisor

Dr. Paul Schmidt


This thesis uses archetypal theory as explained by Carol Pearson in The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By to illustrate the heroic journey undertaken by the protagonist in Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem "Renascence." Feminist archetypal theory is a useful lens for gaining the reader access to the underlying paradigms of struggle experienced by the female literary character because it exposes the parallels that exist in separate female experiences. By applying Pearson's theory to Millay's work, readers are able to elucidate more clearly the methods used by the poet to create commonality and continuity with her female audience. Throughout the poem, the protagonist hero recursively circles through the Innocent, Orphan, Martyr, Wanderer, Warrior, and Magician phases. This essay utilizes a close reading strategy to illustrate its argument and provide evidence to its conclusions.