USF St. Petersburg campus Master's Theses (Graduate)


Daniel G. Lauby

First Advisor

Major Professor: Lisa S. Starks, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jill McCracken, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Milton W. Wendland, J.D., Ph.D.


University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

June 2, 2017


Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations is a perpetually repetitive sequence of abjection, mastery, and failure that contrasts with Victorian wish-fulfillment cinder fantasies. As an orphaned laboring boy from the marshes, Pip begins a failed attempt to compensate for his lack by possessing Estella, a love object who equally tortures and titillates. Thus, he enters into a fantasy that appropriates the Petrarchan mode of Shakespeare’s Sonnets through masochistic disavowal, fetishization, waiting, and suspense, shaping Great Expectations into fantasy narrative that refuses resolution. As Pip attempts to refashion his identity from laborer to gentleman, he is forced to inhabit the space between past and present selfhood. The ensuing traumatic liminality contributes to a masochistic scenario where reminders of Pip’s shameful past continually haunt him through frightening or disorienting portrayals of malfunctioning travel networks. Throughout my thesis, I claim that appropriations of Shakespeare’s “Dark Lady” sonnets and representations of uncanny mobility cultivate Pip’s humiliation and abjection while establishing the novel itself as a retelling of sadomasochistic fantasy.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Liberal Arts Department of Verbal and Visual Arts College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

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