Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Amy Cummins

Second Advisor

Dr. David Bowles

Third Advisor

Dr. Caroline Miles


This thesis offers a feminist interpretation of A Court of Thorns and Roses, a series by Sarah J. Maas. The fantasy fiction series began publication in 2015 and released its companion book in 2018. Protagonist Feyre navigates values about femininity and masculinity, breaking standards, as she develops throughout the series to change the fae and human worlds. Feyre stands up to inequality and helps others, both human and fae, to make peace instead of war. This analysis uncovers the gender roles, literary elements, and fairy tale influences on the series A Court of Thorns and Roses. Prominent symbolism involves masks, hands, and wounds. Feyre’s new powers as High Fae have parallels with gender issues, such as how the ability to shapeshift is like her ability to shift between and to combine the masculine and feminine spheres. Through Feyre’s experiences and transformation from human to fae, Maas shows a heightened version of social issues that many young adults face, thus providing readers with assurance that their responses to trauma are valid. Filling a gap in literary scholarship about contemporary young adult literature, this thesis demonstrates the value of analyzing popular literature such as the works of Sarah J. Maas.


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