Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Committee Chair

Janet Land


In this thesis, I address the influences of the Separate Spheres ideology on representations of women in both Victorian women’s literature and modern Chick Lit. I analyze three primary images of women – the Angel of the House, the Governess, and the New Woman, the relationships between these images and the Spheres ideology, and how modern images have been influenced by the social impacts of the gendered expectations within the ideology. Within each investigation, I include a discussion on works of literature including Charlotte Yonge’s The Daisy Chain, Jennifer Weiner’s Little Earthquakes, Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus’s The Nanny Diaries, Sarah Grand’s The Heavenly Twins, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. Through all of this, I argue that the typified representations are flawed, being defined and influenced by societal ideologies such as the separate spheres and how writers have attempted and continue to work through and past the ideology and its surrounding expectations while modern writing and the ideals within parallel those of their predecessors.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.