Date of Award

5-2014

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Advisor

Elizabeth Neiman

Second Committee Member

Deborah Rogers

Third Committee Member

Jessica Miller

Abstract

This project examines the (re)production of gender scripts in Patricia Briggs’ urban fantasy novels. The genre gained purchase in the 21st century, reflecting cultural anxieties that both produce and construct gender. As mass art is produced faster than more traditional literature, this genre is a functioning Zeitgeist. Deeply engaged in tensions surrounding gender roles, Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series provides a useful space in which to evaluate these tensions.

I suggest that these novels subvert conventional triangulated desire as described by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s Between Men, interrupting the homosocial dynamic of conventional love triangles to re-situate the power with the heroine ensuring narrative movement. I also examine the ways in which Briggs “writes past the ending,” as Rachel Blau Duplessis notes that doing so is a significant disruption of romantic narratives that traditionally have limited possible representations of and for women. Lastly, I examine the prevalence of sexual assault in the genre, situating it within a current cultural context that is increasingly aware of its symptomatic relationship to Western culture.

Share