Bloom Essay

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American Freedom Story: A Journey from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to The Secret Life of Bees By Copyright 2009 Judith Marie Lofflin Ph.D, University of Kansas 2009 Submitted to the graduate degree program in English and the Graduate Faculty of the University of Kansas in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. _______________________________ Chairperson Michael D. Butler _______________________________ James B. Carothers _______________________________ Chester Sullivan _______________________________ Michael Valk _______________________________ Kathleen A. McCluskey-Fawcett Date defended: _April 10, 2009____________ The Dissertation Committee for Judith Marie Lofflin certifies that this is the approved version of the following dissertation: American Freedom Story: A Journey from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to The Secret Life of Bees Committee: _________________________________ Michael D. Butler Chairperson ___________________________________ James B. Carothers ___________________________________ Chester L. Sullivan ___________________________________ Michael Valk ___________________________________ Kathleen A. McCluskey-Fawcett Date approved:_April 24, 2009___________________ ii Abstract This dissertation identifies an American freedom story in a set of novels from 1885 to 2002 beginning with the foundation text Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Five American writers—Willa Cather, Zora Neale Hurston, Maxine Hong Kingston, Bharati Mukherjee, and Sue Monk Kidd-- use similar elements and approaches to consider the freedom quest. This story frame leads a misfit hero to leave family and hometown to form a community and experience personal freedom without cultural, religious, gender, racial, or ethnic limitations. The community, as well as the experience of

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