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Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis - Boise State University Access Only

Degree Title

Master of Arts in English, Literature



Major Advisor

Cheryl Hindrichs, Ph.D.


Jacqueline O'Connor, Ph.D.


Tara Penry, Ph.D.


This thesis explores the pervasive and influential role nonhuman actors play in three of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short stories, “The Giant Wisteria,” “The Yellow Wall-paper,” and “The Rocking-Chair.” Using nonhuman theories from Bill Brown and feminist theories from scholars like Julia Kristeva and Gayle Rubin, I draw connections between the gothic nature of Gilman’s treatment of things, the aesthetic life those things take on through their patriarchal treatment, and the horror both women and objects can foster when they begin to mirror one another. Specifically, the nonhuman actors in my thesis can be understood as being part of the social fabric of the nineteenth-century world, and are given life through their associations with their surroundings. They are not necessarily autonomous, but in their connections to Victorian women, they provide spaces and sites of release, protest, empowerment, and safety. My thesis includes three chapters, each of which seeks to establish the connections between things and women in order to dismantle reader’s dualistic understandings of human/nonhuman and male/female.