Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

English (Literature)

Department or School/College

Department of English

Committee Chair

David Gilcrest

Commitee Members

Katie Kane, Christopher Knight, Phil Condon


the thing itself, Between the Acts, A Mark on the Wall, To the Lighthouse, A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf, A Son of the Forest, New England forest, William Apess, Hope Leslie, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, ecotone, New England, ecocriticism


University of Montana


Gullickson, Michelle, M.A., Spring 2014 “We on the Land: Collected Essays in Ecocriticism” Chairperson: Dr. David Gilcrest This portfolio thesis contains three separates essays that provide ecocritical readings of: 1. Catharine Maria Sedgwick’s 1827 novel Hope Leslie 2. William Apess’s body of work, especially A Son of the Forest (1829) and Eulogy on King Phillip (1837) 3. Virginia Woolf’s work, especially A Room of One’s Own (1929), “A Mark on the Wall” (1921), To the Lighthouse (1927), and Between the Acts (1941). 1. It seems that Sedgwick attempts to portray shared land as a device that allows Magawisca and Hope (the two heroines of the novel) to share experience and create friendship. However, the novel does not maintain Magawisca and Hope in a shared place; rather, the white’s racial privilege in the novel causes them to possess space. Noticing the importance of appeals to the land and the spatiality, I find it helpful to draw from landscape ecology and consider the term “ecotone” in modeling and interpreting the world of Hope Leslie. 2. The forest is close and important to Apess on a spiritual level, and Apess’s work shows the persistence of New England forest. Additionally, Apess uses the forest to depict different versions of race in relation to nature. First showing the myth of “devils of the forest,” then showing natives as natural in Christian forests. Finally, While Apess does not depict 19th century New England as a completely damaged or desolate landscape, he does build a case for the violence to and on the land to encourage cooperative action to counter colonial violence. 3. Rejecting the idea that substance outside of perception cannot be proved, Woolf insists on the autonomy and actually of “the thing itself.” For Woolf, the thing itself isn’t always part of the “natural world,” but often it is. Though Woolf is a writer, and controls the representation of the natural world within her texts, linguistically and thematically she suggests that in the real world the thing itself is something that exists on its own terms, rather than as a constructed image. I use A Room of One’s Own as a text to introduce this idea, then use her 1921 short story “The Mark on the Wall” and her 1927 novel To the Lighthouse to demonstrate how Woolf develops this concepts in her fiction.

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