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Megan West

2nd Place

Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, 2019

My research adds to a long history of literary criticism by revealing how literary critics have historically overlooked this crucial aspect of Brontë’s novel.

Megan West

Bertha Mason and the Politics of Feeling

Honors thesis in English

Read Megan’s Paper (pdf)

Project Description

West’s honors thesis examines envy, sympathy and race in relation to the madwoman in Jane Eyre, Bertha Mason. West took a historical analytic approach, tracing how literary criticism of the novel changed over time and ultimately uncovering a gap in the scholarly research: how the author denies sympathy to Bertha, the novel’s woman from the British colonies. West used library databases to find peer-reviewed articles as well as primary sources, such as “The Anti-Slavery Reporter,” a newspaper circulating in Brontë’s time.

In Their Own Words

Read Megan’s reflective essay from their Lang Prize application.