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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Elisabeth Gruner

Second Advisor

Dr. Elisabeth Out


Enemies-to-lovers novels in romance depict the protagonists falling for each other despite initial hatred. While some critics label it problematic or tasteless, the trope has amassed a considerable fanbase over the last two hundred years. This essay uses the 19th century novels Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte as well as the contemporary novels A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas and The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood to explore the trope’s hidden depths. I argue that the enemies-to-lovers novel allows its central protagonist to come into their own power. In the four 19th century and contemporary novels, I claim that the heroine achieves autonomy by choosing to prioritize freedom over the life offered to her by the foil, a decision she makes for herself with the support of the hero.