Yi Huang

Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Laura Cowan

Second Committee Member

Patricia Burnes

Third Committee Member

Robert A. Brinkley


Based on Rebecca West's The Return of the Soldier and Harriet Hume, this thesis examines West's reconsiderations of the conventional roles for women and the suggestion of new roles for women in a context that connects the public and the private spheres. The changes in women's roles underscore women's agency and their subject positions that allow them to reconstruct the emotional and sexual order and participate in the restructuring of civil society. West places both her female characters and male characters in the center of her narratives. Through examining insignificant domestic events, West reveals a panoramic picture of British society-the declining patriarchal structure and the weakening imperialistic and colonial powers. Through disentangling the relation of reality and its alternative-delusion and fantasy, West forcefully foregrounds the social reality. Her presentations of women's roles are securely located in this changing social context.