The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: English Studies: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Tommie Lee Jackson

Second Advisor

Constance Perry

Third Advisor

Monica Pelaez

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Through a Cultural Studies lens and with Formalist-inspired analysis, this thesis paper addresses the complexly interwoven elements of land, body, and fate in Ellen Glasgow’s Barren Ground. The introductory chapter is a survey of the critical attention, and lack thereof, Glasgow has received from various literary frameworks. Chapter II summarizes the historical foundations of the South into which Glasgow’s fictionalized South is rooted. Chapter III explains the connections between land and body, especially through Dorinda’s victimization. The concluding chapter ties together the preceding arguments into a more universal argument regarding Dorinda’s debatable victory as it relates to the novel’s use of fate.


To Dr. Jackson, Dr. Perry, and Dr. Pelaez, learning under the tutelage of such a lettered group of scholars, both passionate about literature and skilled in mentorship, has been among the highest privileges of my academic career.

To Dr. Jackson, especially, your willingness to advise me on Glasgow, an author that literary criticism has nearly forgotten, exemplifies a philosophy of education that I someday hope to emulate. Each time I’ve exited your office, it’s been with the excitement that only solid, pointed, constructive feedback can foster in a student.

To Mom and Dad, the academic goals I’ve set for myself have always been the ones you’ve prayed for me to achieve. Thank you for helping me realize those goals by destroying every obstacle possible through your sacrifices on my behalf.

To Eric, once you told me that if I could not finish my degree, you would still love me. It’s precisely that promise that gave me the confidence to try. For this project and for life, you are my storyboard and sounding board.

To Clay, as I type this thought, I see your tiny, sweet handprint on the bottom right corner of my laptop screen. There is no greater motivation, little one.

To my daughter, yet unborn at the time of this project’s completion, who tangibly and intangibly reminds me that barrenness is more than something physical.