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Title:Royal Rhinestones: The Beauty Pageant and Female Beauty in American Literature
Author(s):Ward, Liesl Hope
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Baym, Nina
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Women's Studies
Abstract:This dissertation employs various competition segments of the beauty pageant to isolate and analyze how beauty affects the lives of heroines of American literature, reflecting how beauty influences the lived experiences of American women. While heroines of novels are often beautiful, little attention has been paid to why these heroines are beautiful and what this beauty means. I argue that while beauty functions as a requirement for most literary heroines, it is never enough. That is, outward beauty presupposes inward qualities possessed by heroines; whether or not these qualities actually reside within these heroines creates tensions and reveals contradictions engendered by the beauty trap for American women. Through the metaphors of the swimsuit, talent, evening gown, and interview competitions, I explore components of beauty relating to sexuality, occupation, consumerism, and speech issues respectively. The dissertation explores these beauty issues through a wide cross-section of American novels written by women and men over a broad time spectrum, further showing how beauty as an ideology touches the lives of American women even though these women may differ in ethnicity and class as well as the time periods in which they lived; the regulating mechanism of beauty, while it may change in the particulars it employs, functions as a constant throughout American literature.
Issue Date:2000
Description:331 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2000.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9996702
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2000

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