Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Thomas Koenigs

Reader 2

Aaron Matz

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© 2024 Cecelia Blum


This thesis examines Elizabeth Gaskells 1865 novel, North and South. The majority of the literature discussing the role of the female body in North and South tends to examine it in relation to the novel's larger social themes. This essay will instead focus on the way Margaret’s moments of bodily stillness serve as a signifier of her emotional self-control. Gaskell connects Margaret’s swoons to this emotional control and uses these swoons to push back against contemporary notions of female heroism and physical strength. Through the character of Margaret Hale, Gaskell offers a revision of the literary heroine, creating a character who is capable of heroic action and experiences negative consequences of her constant self-sacrifice.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.