Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Suzanne Jones

Second Advisor

Dr. Welford D. Taylor

Third Advisor

Dr. Ilka Saal


In "The Fancy Woman" and "The Old Forest," Peter Taylor examines the identity of working class women in the southern social structure and the roles they play in revising class and gender perceptions. Josie Carlson, "The Fancy Woman's" protagonist, discovers the stifling nature of class divisions. The gap between the working and upper-middle-classes remains as the social hierarchy and Taylor himself lock Josie in a subordinate position. They prevent her from attaining any sense of liberation. However, the working class 'Demimondames' in "The Old Forest" exhibit a stronger independence spirit, compelling society to reevaluate traditional social perceptions. Although they too feel the burden of social limitations, their independence destabilizes traditional class delineations and forces the higher classes to reevaluate their social perceptions. Revision in Taylor's portrayal of working class women underscores the evolving nature of the South's social order and reveal how individuals must force or adjust to these changes.