Empathy after entropy: Crane, Toomer, Woolf, and O’Neill

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Matthew Michael Phillips (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Advisor
Scott Romine

Abstract: This dissertation is about the effects of entropy within various literary texts written in English. My main argument is that an increase in the overall entropy within the closed system, so to speak, of a text directly affects the empathic capacity of the characters within it. In general, if the entropy within a text increases, the empathic capacity of one or more of its characters increases. Sometimes, the text’s setting has reached a point of near-stasis, a situation in which entropy is already nearing its maximum. In such cases, there is often a character who experiences the last of a dwindling entropic potential, and this encounter is crucial regarding the remaining corresponding empathic potential. I rely heavily on close reading, as well as on biographical and interdisciplinary research to show how increased entropy results in the erosion of barriers between characters which previously appeared unbreachable.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2021
Keywords
Entropy, Empathy, Modernism, Chaos, Equilibrium, Community
Subjects
Empathy in literature
Entropy in literature
English literature $x History and criticism

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