Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Media Studies


Dr. Romayne Smith Fullerton



This thesis discusses representations of women, appetite, and food in well-known literary fairy tales and contemporary feminist works. Tales popular in North America consistently link female identity to Mother Nature by way of forbidden food and transgressive appetites, which are the prime means of establishing women’s good or evil status. The good/evil binary between heroines and witches appears representative of Jungian psychology’s Great Mother archetype; however, this binary understanding is founded on myths of motherhood and the fear of female power and sexuality. Analyzing the Grimms’ classic “Snow White,” “Hansel and Gretel,” and “Rapunzel” versions, as well as feminist revisions, I critique the supposed timelessness and universality of woman as nature—as either nurturing or castrating—as a changing, ideological concept. Through monstrous characters and plot revisions, feminists challenge the classics’ gender assumptions, but in providing their critiques, they also rely on the classics’ mothering and sexuality myths.



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