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Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Rural Sociology

First Advisor

Robert Mendelsohn


This dissertation analyzes a sample of mass market paperback fiction in an attempt to determine if traditional gender stereotyping is found in them comparable to what is seen in other forms of the mass media (e.g., television, movies, and advertising). Six novels were analyzed including novels by two romance writers (Danielle Steel's Star, Johanna Lindsey's Gentle Rogue), two writers of mystery/thrillers (John Grisham's Pelican Brief, Mary Higgins Clark's I'll Be Seeing You), and two horror writers (Stephen King's Dolores Claiborne, and Dean Koontz's The Voice of the Night). Overwhelmingly, it was found that when looking at the specific variables Occupation, Approach to the World, Position, Valued Characteristics, and Relationships, these novels demonstrated the same traditional gender stereotyping discovered in other mass media. Although the majority of images found in the novels still conformed to traditional gender images, the least traditional of the six novels were Pelican Brief and Dolores Claiborne.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Sex role in literature
Popular literature -- United States
American fiction - 20th century




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