Panopticon: Race Gender and Authorship in The Help

  • 李 沛淳

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

Abstract

This thesis analyzes popular American novelist Kathryn Stockett’s autobiographical novel The Help (2007) with a focus on race gender and authorship with Foucault’s theoretical paradigm of panopticism Although this novel is known for its commercial successes in print form and in its cinematic adaptation scholars and critics in recent years have pointed out a large number of the novel’s inaccurate documentations of American south in the late sixties as well as its degrading representations of black women and men However what remains inadequately examined among analyses of the novel is the fictional characters of white housewives whose desperate daily life form sharp contrast with their material privileges and whose tension with their “colored maids” implies Foucault’s panopticism in a racially segregated society where both colored and white woman are involved and supervised by the gaze of patriarchal panopticon Therefore this thesis aims to take Foucault’s panopticism to analyze Kathryn Stockett’s The Help in order to investigate how the subtle patriarchal panopticon creates a strictly disciplined society through women and varied forms of labor in domestic life assigned to them By examining the spatial arrangements of the fictionalized town the ways white housewives see their “colored maids” and themselves and the parallels between the novel’s heroine and the author Kathryn Stockett I hope to present a critical analysis of both the segregated town painted by the novel and the ambivalent white middle-class women living and struggling therein
Date of Award2015 Feb 9
LanguageEnglish
SupervisorYin Wang (Supervisor)

Cite this

Panopticon: Race Gender and Authorship in The Help
沛淳, 李. (Author). 2015 Feb 9

Student thesis: Master's Thesis