Publication Date

5-1-1999

Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts

Abstract

What initially triggered my writing a thesis on the feminist movement in America was the question, "Will women ever truly achieve equality?" Further, will all humanity ever achieve equality? I found through the movement toward equality for women that any movement toward equality progresses toward equality for all because if one group only wants to be equal with others, then they want others to have equality as well. This thesis surveys the feminist movement in America from the 1950's to the 1990's through the realm of the works of Adrienne Rich, American female poet. Rich's progression as a political feminist poet becomes a microcosm of the overall female journey toward equality. This piece also explores endeavors made by others that parallel Rich's venture. Through this survey of the American movement toward an equalitarian society from the 50's to the present, one finds that women and other oppressed Americans have come far in having equal standing in society, but what Rich and others find is that equality still does not truly exist in all public nor private domains, yet especially in private realms. The need for further change, in addition to laws and status, is the inherited cultural thought that women and minorities are somehow inferior to the Caucasian male. This pervading idea is a part of our history books, and until it becomes just that—history—then the movement to eradicate its presence, even in our subconscious minds, has to continue. We are all of the human race, and we are all born equally and freely into this world; thus, we all deserve to live freely and be treated equally. When freedom is truly felt and lived by all, then the pace toward equality will finally cross the finish line.

Disciplines

English Language and Literature