Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, English and Literary Arts

First Advisor

W. Scott Howard

Second Advisor

Eric Gould

Third Advisor

Naomi Reshotko


Augustus, Butcher's Crossing, Historical realism, John Williams, Stoicism, Stoner


This thesis investigates how John Williams’s three major works of fiction — Butcher’s Crossing, Stoner, and Augustus — are narratively structured around three main characters who embody the tenets of stoic and Emersonian transcendental philosophy, respectively. Williams uses these characters to promote and critique preconceived notions of heroic masculinity as structured within these philosophies. Through an analysis of form, this thesis will explore how Williams scaffolds his three main characters around the language and ideas present within each philosophical school. Williams’s portrayal of heroic masculinity, as seen through a feminist perspective, questions the ideal masculine hero, which will be discussed herein. The current critical work surrounding Williams’s fiction fails to point out and discuss just how Williams constructs his heroes around philosophical frameworks because the focus is too often placed on the narrative and not the characters themselves. Through this analysis and critique of heroic masculinity in the works of John Williams, we can glean insights into broader questions of heroism as it is embodied in character and how that heroism is often embedded in constructed tropes of masculinity.

Copyright Date


Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Cameron Sepede


Received from ProQuest

File Format



English (eng)


100 pgs

File Size

592 KB


English literature, Literature, Philosophy