This thesis explores the effects of politicized identities on the basis of particular aspects of an individual’s being, such as gender, ethnicity, or nationality in Peter Ho Davies’s novels The Welsh Girl (2007) and The Fortunes (2016). By carefully studying each of his protagonists within the context of the particular time and place in which they have come of age, and are now living, this thesis demonstrates how Davies engages with themes of identity, community, and alienation relative to the specific socio-cultural matrix that informs the politicization of identities at their time. It explores how Davies’s characters undergo the process of self-liberation from the oppressively politicized boundaries of identity by means of shared personal narratives with other characters, both overtly and subliminally through personal narrative embedded in the text itself. The transmission of personal narrative enables the protagonist to reclaim their story in their own terms, thereby reorienting them to the power of their own identity, a process that undercuts the politicized implications of identity imposed on them. As a result, this thesis views Davies’s novels as works of contemporary socio-cultural criticism that cast doubt upon the functionality of politicized identity as a means of community-building and substitute, in its stead, community founded on the recognition of difference.

Date of publication

Spring 4-23-2019

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Carolyn Tilghman, Ann Beebe, Matthew Kelly


Master of Arts