Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2012

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

English

Number of Pages

120

Abstract

Winifred Holtby, the British interwar feminist, was one of the most talented and insightful writers of her time, yet sadly never achieved the status of household name. In a society where marriage was assumed to correlate directly with female happiness and satisfaction, the single woman was an object of pity. Never married herself, Holtby was passionate about promoting singleness as a viable alternative to marriage and even one that might bring about more satisfaction to a woman. Chapter 1 of this thesis deals with the portrayal of women and singleness in an earlier novel, The Crowded Street (1924), and Chapter 3, with her last and perhaps most famous novel, South Riding (1936). In Chapter 2 I look at her nonfiction work, Women and a Changing Civilization (1935), in order to examine her account of female history, the feminist movement, and her thoughts on the direction in which women are going. Holtby, in her own words, claims women can find satisfaction outside of marriage or living in relation to men, but these themes do not always manifest themselves so cleanly in her novels. I observe her handling of female characters, the choices they make in regard to men, and whether or not those choices result in satisfaction.

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