Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Lynne S. McNeill (Committee Chair)
Lynne S. McNeill
Traditionally, the selkies (or seal people) of Scottish-Irish lore exist between spaces: the land and the sea, human and animal, childbearing and childless. Their existence at sea is voluntary but their existence on land is forced. Once the selkie has left behind its sealskin and both the literal and metaphorical sealskin has been stolen, the selkie becomes subject to human will. The lenses of body, reclamation, violation, and abuse prove that the reason why selkies have faded from popularity is because the lessons are too mature for a young audience. A feminist and queer reading and interpretation of this traditional tale not only demonstrates the sexual and domestic subjugation that marginalized characters in folklore endure, but also explores the non-belonging that occurs when existing in the liminal.
Avery, Frances, "The Sea Calls: A Selkie's Liminal Existence" (2021). All Graduate Plan B and other Reports. 1550.
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