Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Philip J. Egan

Second Advisor

Dr. C. J. Gianakaris

Third Advisor

Dr. Elise Bickford Jorgens

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Sociolinguistic studies have long acknowledged that men and women sometimes read, write, speak, and view differently. This is often recognized as a cultural phenomenon, but there are increasing reasons to suppose that biology may play a larger role in these differences than was suspected two or three decades ago. Over the last fifteen to twenty years, in particular, evidence has continued to mount in that direction from studies in neurophysiology, endocrinology, and infant behavior. In addition, sociobiological perspectives first proposed in the 1970s seem to have met with large success in being confirmed by cross-cultural studies done in the 1980s.

This thesis proposes that many gender issues may be divergent because males and females have innately different resources and needs. It offers paradigms by which literature may be viewed simultaneously from mutually exclusive angles. Works discussed include Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser, McTeague by Frank Norris, The Awakening and "The Storm" by Kate Chopin, and Herzog by Saul Bellow. Some discussion is also devoted to pulp romances and pornography.