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Blue Collar, Red Dress: A Novel and Critical Commentary

By Susan Holmes


This submission for a Master of Arts by research is comprised of a novel, 'Blue Collar, Red Dress' and a Critical Commentary. 'Blue Collar, Red Dress' is a work of fiction, based on my own experiences of growing up in Housing Commission flats in the 1960s. It is the story of Linda and Heidi, their friendship and their lives as they both make transitions across social classes, one through further education and the other through her work. Ultimately they both realise you cannot eradicate your past, but for one of them the journey ends in tragedy. The Critical Commentary, the theoretical component of the Masters, explores representations of class, and particularly Anglo working-class women, in a range of Australian women's novels from the 1930s to 1960s, and the 1970s to 1990s. My hypothesis is that these representations have taken on a particular focus, and sites of reference, due to the class background and experience of the writers themselves. This thesis involved using an range of qualitative research methods, including the use of both primary and secondary sources. The novel, whilst drawing on my own lived experience, also required historical and social research. The critical commentary was completed using more trdditional research including analysing a range of sources on class issues, analysing literary theory (particularly relating to class, race and gender), searching of literature data bases, and analysis of novels (and reviews of those novels) in the two key periods. I also referred to various sources regarding the background of the writers studied, including autobiographies and directories of Australian writers

Topics: School of Communication and the Arts, 220000 Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts-General, novel, fiction, friendship, social classes, Australian women's novels
Year: 1998
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