Nancy Dunbar

Date of Award


Document Type

Access Controlled Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Karla J. Alwes


The author and narrator of a novel must each have a voice; a strong voice that the reader can "hear" and that will make "listening" a pleasure. A good story is lost without a compelling voice. Of foremost importance is, says Carl Malmgrem,

...the speaker and the relation he or she establishes with the reader. In traditional fiction, regardless of the point of view, the relation is friendly, cooperative, and mutually satisfying; the speaker attempts to create a fictional community, gradually drawing readers into the world of the text. (477)

George Eliot is writing about a world that she knows and the value of the connections and memories associated with her childhood. These connections and memories are shaped in the novel by

the paradoxical fact that she is using an artistic re-creation of her own life partly to 'teach' that strong and deep roots make good men, that morality is derived from the development of particular family and local affections into abstract conceptions of duty and piety, while her search for happiness in love and a wider intellectual world had ... severed her from her roots (MOTF, Intro. xiii, A.S. Byatt, ed.)

all of which was accomplished and made graceful by "the distancing art of fiction and partly because of the strength given to the particular history by its coincidence with the author's, and the intellectual world's, general interest in such histories and their meanings" (MOTF, Intro. xv, A.S. Byatt, ed.).