Literary Women : A Choreographic Exploration of Characters in Feminist Fiction

Date of Award


Document Type

MSU-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


College of the Arts


Theatre and Dance

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Elizabeth McPherson

Committee Member

Julia Burrer

Committee Member

Donna Scro Samori


My MFA in Dance thesis, Literary Women, is a live dance performance that utilizes choreography, music, and projection design to bring works of feminist literature to life in a new and eye-opening way. Literary Women is based on three works of feminist literature: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, and The Blazing World by Margaret Cavendish. I chose them for their revelations of the roles and perceptions of women in society across a wide span of time. Some of the difficult topics addressed through this work include second class status, rape and sexual abuse, mental health and treatment, and decisions on women’s choices around reproduction. This written thesis includes a discussion of the research I completed on my journey towards this performance. That research includes: the stories, the women who wrote them, and how feminism, digital media, and storytelling have been addressed by other choreographers in dance. At the end of this written thesis, I reflect on my process as well as the audience response to the performance.


The performance video is restricted to the Montclair State University community but the PDF file of the thesis, which is located at the bottom of the screen, is available to anyone interested in reading it.

File Format


Millan, Jacqueline_Redacted.pdf (2611 kB)
PDF file of written thesis

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