Once Upon A Journey - Travel Narratives by Women: The Philosophical Observations of Mary Wollstonecraft and the Cultural Meme of Elizabeth Gilbert

Date created: 
Mary Wollstonecraft
Elizabeth Gilbert
Technology of the Self
Travel Writing
Self Help
Women’s Identity

This work analyzes travel writing by Mary Wollstonecraft and Elizabeth Gilbert to demonstrate that travel by women serves as a technology of the self or a means by which to attain a certain state of being. This examination of travel narratives from two different eras also reflects a shift in the nature of travel from a knowledge-expanding endeavour to a self-indulgent one prioritizing individual benefits. This emergent emphasis on travel as a means to self-improvement rather than self-understanding perpetuates traditional values, upholds the patriarchal system of male privilege, and undermines the struggle for women’s equality in an era of apparent female empowerment and self-sufficiency. This project also functions as a testament of the value of an academic journey, one based on thinking about and reflecting upon a topic of interest with greater insight as the final destination and reward.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Senior supervisor: 
Anne-Marie Feenberg-Dibon
Eleanor Stebner
Arts & Social Sciences: Liberal Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.L.S.