Lucy Shafik


My thesis explores the role of the self in spiritual narratives, adopting the philosophical perspectives of Plato, Aristotle, and Kierkegaard as modes of apprehending the reader's inward response to literature. I examine patterns of spiritual awakening in St. Augustine's Confessions, Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", and T. S. Eliot's The Family Reunion, tracing and retracing phases in the protagonist's life, which lead to a crucial moment of conversion. I attempt to show how each character's experience acquires spiritual meaning on the basis of transformative insights and demonstrates its potential to shape the self. The purpose of the thesis is to allow the religious point of view to cast light on secular literature and to address various ways of approaching religious truths on a textual basis. In offering a religious response to secular spheres of culture, including art and philosophy, the thesis indicates how theology provides insights into literary texts that are concerned with ultimate meaning.


English & Comparative Literature Department

Degree Name

MA in English & Comparative Literature

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2017

First Advisor

Melaney, William

Committee Member 1

Nimis, Stephen

Committee Member 2

Nasser, Tahia Abdel


67 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item


Awarded university fellowship final semester