This thesis aims to shed light on the maternal role and its use in subverting feminine gender association. The maternal has always been an important facet in the construction of gender, specifically that of the feminine. By viewing three pieces of American suffrage drama: Ariana Curtis's The Spirit of '76, or The Coming Woman, a Prophetic Drama (1868), Alice Ives's A Very New Woman (1896) and Alice Thompson's A Suffragette Baby (1912), through Judith Butler's performative gender lens, we learn new things about the maternal. Most importantly, we ascertain that the maternal is an entity separate from the feminine gender, that it can be moved and that it can be reapplied to designate non-feminine bodies as maternal. This knowledge has the potential to destabilize gender construction by helping to fragment the feminine, thereby diminishing the power associated with gender as a comprehensive unit.
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