Shaheen, Aaron D.
Stuart, Christopher J.; Jones, Rebecca
College of Arts and Sciences
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
My thesis connects the ideas of speed, movement, symbolism and feminism in Dos Passos’s work 1919, the second book of the U.S.A. trilogy. For the women in the novel―Janey Williams, Eveline Hutchins, Eleanor Stoddard, and Daughter― there is an ever-present tension in their existence as they struggle between the static roles available for women as symbolic figures outside of time and the personal mobility that allows them to participate in history. By using speed as a measure of extreme behavior, I examine the degrees to which women could move outside of their domestic sphere of inequality and the speed at which they could safely do so. The first chapter of this paper focuses on Daughter, who shows that even excessive speed and mobility can be stifling, leaving one reduced to a symbol. By noting her obvious connections to futurism, I show that she oversteps the boundaries of acceptable femininity through speed, resulting in her ultimate death and the death of her unborn child. The second chapter is devoted to Janey Williams and Eleanor Stoddard, who both lose momentum and virtually stop moving at all. They become stagnant characters who are easily reduced to symbolism. Eveline is the focus of the final chapter. Her speed of movement throughout her story is consistent as she constantly refuses to be categorized, symbolized, or idolized. She is the only female character of 1919 that lives on into The Big Money, and for this reason she seems stands apart from the others. Finally, my epilogue addresses the direction in which the world is moving for women at the end of 1919.
M. A.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts.
Dos Passos, John, 1896-1970 -- Criticism and interpretation
English Language and Literature
vii, 54 leaves
Cope, Natalie Tara, "Speed and stasis: femininity and symbolism in John Dos Passos's 1919" (2013). Masters Theses and Doctoral Dissertations.