Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Adams-Campbell, Melissa

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of English


American literature; Motion pictures--Study and teaching


Narratives of the early American frontier precede even the founding of the American nation, and continued to serve as the setting for novelists and, later, filmmakers. This thesis explores the representation and role of women in three distinct eras of narrative, all focusing on narratives written about the 1750-1780s time period. These three eras, when examined for roles women play in these narratives, reveal variations in themes as cultural anxieties of both authors and audiences move from wartime concerns to settlement to reassertions of culture. While early primary source narratives take little interest in women's perspectives and roles, novels of the 1820s focused on women as a means of exploring cultural conveyance and themes of settlement. Returns to the frontier in film and fiction of the 1930s and 1940s further explores the role of women as cultural conveyors, through the lens of reasserting culture even though new settlement was a historical concept, not a present concern.


Advisors: Melissa Adams-Campbell.||Committee members: Scott Balcerzak; Timothy Ryan.||Includes bibliographical references.


58 pages




Northern Illinois University

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