Date of Award

4-28-2015

Degree Type

Report

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Lisa Gabbert

Abstract

A close examination of daily work can tell the detailed story of a person’s values and beliefs. While folklorists routinely study labor in factories, fields, and offices, domestic work remains largely unexamined, perhaps due to its historic invisibility or characterization as unimportant. This study uses folklore and feminist literature to uncover what one woman (Alana Stowe, a white, heterosexual, Mormon wife and mother in North Logan, Utah) has made of housework, in an effort to add to the research on domestic work. Stowe’s aesthetically-driven laundry folding routine communicates the values that are most important in her life, namely order, rejuvenation, familial connections and religiosity. By looking at the minute level of one woman’s daily activities we can see the individual interacting with the larger institutions that influence her life. This study seeks to bring attention to and complicate the ways in which women interact with the power structures in their lives; Stowe does not follow her traditions blindly but instead uses her agency to act innovatively within the social bounds and traditions set by her church and family.

Share

COinS