Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Arthur Gordon Van Ness, III, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Ellery Sedgewick, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Robert Lynch, Ph.D.


Realizing the situations facing the American family and the changes it underwent, Kingsolver chooses to use her works as a means to explain how nontraditional families can succeed in American society. Kingsolver describes the evolution of Taylor Greer from a woman trapped in a hopeless situation into one with opportunities for success. Taylor discovers who she is but additionally learns through her relationships and from nature’s cycles that her interdependence with others permits the simultaneous growth of her identity and family. Her new found acquisition of an abused child, her new-found motherhood, and her decision to establish close ties with others to form a new family all mirror issues concerning women, children, and the development of the nontraditional family that arose during the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s. Originally on a personal journey, Taylor alters her egotistical concerns into a compassion for and interdependence with others. Kingsolver clearly accepts and advocates the changes that the evolving American family has undergone. No longer are parents and children caught in the mentality of the fifties, but they are constantly moving and changing roles in a prescribed framework that makes defining them difficult.



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