Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Gomez-Vega, Ibis

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of English


This dissertation contributes to the critical conversation on American women's fiction by examining the works of American female Boomer authors and their representations of white female identity in Boomer literature. The texts included in this study range from 2004 to 2018, offering several recent years of perspective on Boomer women. Because these books are current, few, if any, scholarly articles focus on them and their contribution to American literature, allowing this dissertation to create new theories and connect to pre-existing ideas, such as ageism. In addition, this dissertation uses some of the themes prevalent in the work of scholars who write about ethnic literature to examine the work of white women writers. For many years, American scholars have written about the “search for identity” in the work of ethnic writers; however, this same search for identity has not been pursued in the work of white women writers. This study examines the representation and/or development of white female identity through the Boomer characters written by white female authors. Lastly, this dissertation moves beyond identification based on ethnicity. Rather, it examines and seeks to understand other ways, like parental relationships, spousal relationships, cultural aspects, the decision to have children, reactions to death, etc., that define Boomer women’s identity, especially as these women characters reach a certain age and enter a different phase of their lives. Overall, this dissertation stresses that the journey of initiation is not just for teenagers like Holden Caulfield of The Catcher in the Rye. Female Boomer characters, at a certain age, must embark on what is basically a journey of initiation in order for them to find a better version of themselves, to embrace change at an age when they are not expected to do so. If not, they remain stagnant, stifled, and trapped moving into the second half of their lives.


196 pages




Northern Illinois University

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