Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Kathryn Stergiopoulos

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© 2016 Melanie C. Daifotis


Implications surrounding body ownership prove to be an enduring struggle from their prevalence in ancient literary sources through more modern, contemporary works. I analyze the notions of body ownership and its lack thereof set forth in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and the Homeric “Hymn to Demeter” regarding the myth of Persephone. Then, I consider larger meanings through analysis of the following contemporary works, approached in terms of the narrators: Rita Dove’s Mother Love, Louise Glück’s Averno, A.E. Stallings’s “Hades Welcomes His Bride” and “Persephone Writes a Letter to Her Mother,” and D.M. Thomas’s “Pomegranate.”

The complexities within the myth itself amplify the complications in the contemporary interpretations of the myth. There is a range of differing levels of accepting sentiments in the contemporary works about the idea that no one ever has complete ownership or control over his own body.

Comparing the different lenses through with the contemporary authors (and ancient authors!) chose to incorporate the myth of Persephone into their works reveals overarching themes, enlightening the reader about the nuances of the arguably most famous abduction in history.