Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Reclaiming the heroine: appropriating "negative" representations of women from Emile Zola's Nana and Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie

As the Academy tries to balance the traditional canon with today's demands for canon reformation, this thesis offers an alternative for balancing the two. Since, the majority of texts taught in today's literature courses are written by men, it is important for instructors to find methods for teaching these texts that will make them accessible to today's students. Applying Nancy K. Miller's poetics for feminist writing to male-authored works is one way to bring these texts to today's woman reader. This essay illustrates how women readers can apply this method in order to create positive feminist readings of novels written by men. This essay provides an example of how Miller's poetics can be applied to the male-authored text, by employing them to two naturalist novels, Émile Zola's Nana and Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie.