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Gender Matters: Amante's Gender Construction in Elizabeth Gaskell's "The Grey Woman"

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abstract
Elizabeth Gaskell’s reputation as an author and position within the canon has long been contested and debated forming a narrative of an almost “anti-feminist” or “minor” author in Victorian Literature. Shifting perceptions of her work have recently argued for a more progressive reading and understanding of her work, reimagining particularly her novels in a feminist framework. I propose that Elizabeth Gaskell’s works also deserve some consideration in the realm of queer theory, particularly her Gothic short story, The Grey Woman. Through an analysis of the gender construction and evolution of the cross-dressing, and arguably cross-gendering, character Amante, I argue the text not only presents Amante as a potentially male-identifying character but also validates her gender construction through the use of plot devices and narrative framework. I place Amante’s situation in conversation with another of Gaskell’s cross-dressing characters, Peter Jenkyns from Cranford, to show how the layout and plot elements of a story can play a large, if subtle, part in both validating and constructing a character’s gender identity.
subject
"They Grey Woman"
Cranford
Gaskell
transgender
contributor
Willis, Rachel (author)
Jenkins, Melissa (committee chair)
Lancaster, Zak (committee member)
Pyke, Jenny (committee member)
date
2021-06-03T08:36:07Z (accessioned)
2021 (issued)
degree
English (discipline)
2026-06-01 (liftdate)
embargo
2026-06-01 (terms)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/98805 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
Gender Matters: Amante's Gender Construction in Elizabeth Gaskell's "The Grey Woman"
type
Thesis

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