Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Liberal Arts (M.L.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Humanities and Cultural Studies

Major Professor

Brook Sadler, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Amy Rust, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Todd Jurgess, Ph.D.


female audience, femininity, romantic ending, sisterhood


My thesis examines the expressions of the limits and possibilities of female subjectivity in the four Hollywood film adaptations of Little Women, filmed in 1933, 1949, 1994, and 2019 respectively, by combining textual and audience analysis with adaptation theory, feminist film theory, and feminist adaptation theory. In exploring the disparate femininity of female characters, the different representations of plots, and the authorship and changes of structure, I argue that the 1933 and 1949 versions present evidently conservative and patriarchal characteristics in the text, but their female subjectivity can be obtained through the complexity of emotion of the female audience of their eras. And the 1994 and 2019 versions have distinct progressive and feminist representations in their texts, but the 1994 version does not escape a patriarchal ending, while the 2019 version has a great breakthrough at the end. This project considers chronologically how female subjectivity is repressed and displayed in the four adaptations. The presentation of female subjectivity and the predicaments faced by women vary according to the context of their times, the analysis of them is important for the development of female subjectivity in the future film industry as well as the promotion of female self-consciousness in their daily lives.