Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

E. Derek Taylor

Second Advisor

Kimberly Stern

Third Advisor

Chene Heady


This thesis explains the evolution of Samuel Richardson’s feminine ideal by examining his three novels, Pamela, Clarissa, and Sir Charles Grandison. Divided into three chapters, each chapter focuses on one of the three novels and the main female protagonist within the novel. During the time these novels were written, there was the idea of a “proper lady”: a woman who was meek, subservient, and docile when it came to men and was not witty, independent, or ambitious for power to the point where she forgot about her proper duties to the home as a wife and mother. Richardson’s novels start out with this ideal, but by the time he has written his third novel, Sir Charles Grandison, featuring Lady G. the ideal has shifted to allow women to be this witty, independent person while maintaining her identity as mother and wife as well. Women could be allowed both, and Richardson slowly reveals this throughout these three novels.



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