Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Adams-Campbell, Melissa

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of English


This thesis discusses the film The Witch (2015), directed by Robert Eggers, specifically, the character of William and his failures as a Puritan man. Puritan masculinity is a surprisingly understudied area of American literature and, to enter into the field, I use William and The Witch as a portal into various historical and literary interpretations of seventeenth-century Puritan maleness. The project takes a palimpsestic approach to these layers of influence on Eggers’s film. From Hawthorne’s Reverend Hooper in “The Minister’s Black Veil” and Young Goodman Brown in “Young Goodman Brown” to real-world Puritans Roger Williams and Samuel Sewall. This thesis explores themes of exile, loss, and failure in both fiction and historical Puritan male characters. The culmination of three separate centuries of ideas about American maleness leave William as a patriarch and a man with the drive for success, but no possible way to ascertain it.


72 pages




Northern Illinois University

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