School of Education and the Arts
Studies in Creative Arts and Writing
Dr. Nicole Anae, Dr. Jan Cattoni
Doctor of Philosophy
Karen Eastland

Research Details

Thesis Name

The Absent or Dead Mother Trope and Identity in Urban Fantasy.

Thesis Abstract

My thesis examines how the absent or dead mother trope can be used to influence a plot, determine the setting and consequences that the trope could have on a female protagonist with an active mother figure in her life?

Why my research is important/Impacts

My research examines the absent or dead mother trope and identity in Urban Fantasies. Although the trope has existed in literature for centuries, its prominence in Urban Fantasies has been striking. My research plays with the trope to see what happens when the role of the mother is present. Mothers in literature are still used as a casual tool to, as Don Hahn suggests, operate as a literary shorthand (2017). My research explores the use and abuse of the mother in literature in the Urban Fantasy sub-genre while also arguing Urban Fantasy's right to function as a stand-alone genre. I intend to shine a light on the absent or dead mother trope and identity in Urban Fantasies because I feel it, to a certain extent, functions as that literary shorthand by limiting not just mothers but also the role of women in society. The absent or dead mother trope has real-world effects on the notion of mother/women and their identity. The absent or dead mother trope and identity in Urban Fantasy is flourishing and I need to know if its rise in the genre is purposeful, and if so, who requires the trope? Is it the publishers, the authors, or the readers? If so, why?