Date of Award

4-2-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Schoenfeld, Jen̩

Abstract

This thesis is an analysis of literary representations of alcoholic women in autobiographical writing. Four memoirs were chosen for this project: Cupcake Brown‰Ûªs A Piece of Cake, Mary Karr‰Ûªs Lit: A Memoir, Caroline Knapp‰Ûªs Drinking: A Love Story, and Koren Zailckas‰Ûªs Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood. I begin by examining the memoirist‰Ûªs representation of herself as an alcoholic and how she integrates that identity into her total selfhood. Using a specific paradigm for the alcohol addiction memoir helps her fashion a selfhood that represents her serial identities, including her gender, along with her alcoholism. The project then seeks to understand how these women‰Ûªs narratives fit into the discourses already available for both alcohol addiction and for memoir. With the notion that they work within these discourses and also against them because of the authors‰Ûª gender and other markers of identity, I explain how memoirs can alter our cultural memories of both alcohol and the memoir genre. Finally, I address the fragility of truth in the alcohol addiction memoir in light of the nature of alcoholism. The conclusion of this project is that memoirs are a tool for authors and readers to speak about alcoholism, a topic that typically remains silenced in the discourses of both alcohol and the genre.

Comments

Includes bibliographical references (p. 73-77)

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