Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Daniel Westover

Committee Members

David Michael Jones, Phyllis Thompson


My goal for this thesis is to investigate the concept of (mis)labeling female protagonists in contemporary British fiction as mentally ill—historically labeled as madness—when subjected to traumatic events. The female protagonists in two novels by Sophie Mackintosh, The Water Cure (2018) and Blue Ticket (2020), and Jenni Fagan’s 2012 novel The Panopticon, are raised in environments steeped in trauma and strict, hegemonic structures that actively work to control and mold their identities. In The Panopticon, this system is called “the experiment”; in The Water Cure, it is personified by the character King and those who follow him; and in Blue Ticket, it is the social structure as a whole reflected in the character of Doctor A. To simply label these novels’ woman protagonists as ill would be to ignore that their behavior is not mental illness but in fact rational behavior produced by the traumatic dystopian environments.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.