The collection: integrating attachment theory and theories of intergenerational development to write a woman's life

Grantham, Brianna Jene (2017). The collection: integrating attachment theory and theories of intergenerational development to write a woman's life. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

PDF - Accepted Version

Download (1MB)


The Collection tells the story of Barbara, a fifty-something, Christian, teacher, wife, and mother, as she is forced to return home after her estranged father's death. Named executrix of his estate, Barbara navigates family secrets, repressed childhood trauma, and her mentally ill father's legacy. Using Attachment Theory and Intergenerational Theories of Personal Development, this research discusses the development and relationships of the characters in The Collection to demonstrate the connections between their child and adult selves—specifically, the role of Barbara's parents and childhood in her suppressed anger. Framed within the context of Carolyn G. Heilbrun's feminist critique of women writers and women characters, this paper connects socio-psychological theories to investigate how the patriarchal gender norms Barbara's mother instilled in her daughter result in Barbara's suppressed anger, strained interpersonal relationships and adult religiosity. The relationship between adult Barbara and her aging mother is discussed in context of these theories and compared against women characters in Siri Hustvedt's The Blazing World and Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge. Finally, the paper calls for further research into and understanding of the causes and effects of women's anger, as well as an essential shift in how both men and women are permitted to express emotions.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of Film and Creative Writing
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year