New Zealand pride and prejudice : gender and location in selected chick lit novels.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Through close analysis of five chick lit novels set in New Zealand, this thesis explores the ways these texts adapt and hybridise recognised conventions of typical British and North American chick lit with popular, mythic conceptions of New Zealand cultural identity. The novels included in this study are Michelle Holman's Divine (2008) and Knotted (2009), Danielle Hawkins's Dinner at Rose’s (2012) and Chocolate Cake for Breakfast (2013), and Holly Ford’s Blackpeak Station (2013). In what follows, I recognise the challenges of defining and labelling “chick lit”, the variety of responses to the genre and perceptions of its merits, as well as my selected texts’ relationships to New Zealand literary and popular fiction. Incorporating these contextual debates and influences, each chapter focuses on the ways my selected texts both diverge from and reproduce key elements of the genre through their representations of New Zealand women, men, and settings. In doing so, I will argue that these texts construct particular, localised fantasies about femininity, masculinity, and New Zealand in order to appeal to readers. Lastly, this thesis seeks to exemplify how the critical study of chick lit offers important insights into the depiction of women in popular culture, and the variety of issues addressed within their light-hearted narratives.