Refuting gender stereotypes in savior narratives: the Gospels, the Chronicles of Narnia, and the Harry Potter series

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Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature


Cynthia Malone, English


This thesis explores literary analysis, gender roles, and Christian theology through stories that have shaped young, Western readers' conceptions of how the world works. It searches for an answer to the question "are saviors necessarily male." It also examines girls' and women's roles in each of the three narratives and the roles played by each savior's closest friends of each gender. The thesis concludes that, because women are expected to be passive and self-sacrificing in the Western construct of gender norms, their sacrifices are not as highly esteemed as men's. As demonstrated in each of the three narratives, if a woman preserves her life instead of sacrificing it for her community, she cannot be associated with good. Because a man can actively choose to either sacrifice himself or preserve his life AND still be associated with good, his sacrifice means more than a woman's, so each savior - at least in the current Western tradition - is necessarily male.