Abstract for 2008 Honors Colloquium

Margaret Harvey

English

"From Maiden to Matron: Victorian Heroines and the Creation of Domestic Identity"

Marriage gives the Victorian heroine possibilities, authority, and knowledge, while also presenting the heroine with new challenges and concerns. The journey between maiden and matron is a time of enormous upheaval in which the heroine must transform her identity and prepare for new domestic and sexual roles. My thesis explores this liminal stage between girlhood and womanhood in the Victorian novel. To support my thesis, I am using Anthony Trollope's He Knew He Was Right, Charles Dickens' Our Mutual Friend and George Eliot's Daniel Deronda, novels that directly engage with Victorian ideas about gender, marriage and sexuality.