Date of Award

January 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Rebecca Weaver-Hightower


This dissertation reads novels from South Africa and Ireland by noted writers like Nadine Gordimer and William Trevor, in order to examine how the peripheral and underanalyzed literary daughter has been increasingly used as a symbol of the developing postcolonial state. This reading focuses especially on the daughter-father dyad and how through this relationship the daughter reconfigures herself as what Kwame Anthony Appiah has elsewhere called "a partial cosmopolitan" - that is, a individual connected to both the local environment and to the larger global culture. This dual connection that I trace is established in a range of ways throughout the different novels and, yet, through those differences the daughter and the family drama comes to symbolize the postcolonial state's struggle to redefine itself as moving past the post of post-colonialism.