Using Invitational Rhetoric To Read Silence, Women, And Nature In Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rachel Sasser (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Alison Gulley

Abstract: The role of nature in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales is not a new topic of discussion, but it is my hope that this thesis’s focus on the women and their interaction with nature, their mutual oppression, and agency reveal empowering readings that show how both use silence to their advantage. Using the concept of invitational rhetoric from Foss and Griffin’s “Beyond Persuasion: A Proposal for Invitational Rhetoric” as a framework, I propose my ideas in feminist fashion rather than what the authors name the patriarchal practice of persuasion. The mutual oppression of women and nature is a tradition studied by various feminists – Val Plumwood, Sherry Ortner, Susan Griffin. This thesis draws directly from their work and is indebted to their efforts. Another important essay this thesis uses is Schneider’s “Feminism and the False Dichotomy of Victimization and Agency.” This piece explores the perceived binary-based relationship between being a victim and agent that plagues the justice system regarding abused women. Applying ideas from this legally-focused text, I present various perspectives that one could adopt when reading the Tales in order to provide empowering readings while still acknowledging the oppression and mistreatment of both women and nature.

Additional Information

Sasser, R. (2019). Using Invitational Rhetoric To Read Silence, Women, And Nature In Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2019
The Canterbury Tales, Rhetoric of Silence, Ecofeminism, Ecocriticism, Feminism

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