Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Patricia Wareh

Second Advisor

Jillmarie Murphy




hope, native american, new, novel


This thesis focuses on the symbolic importance of names in Catharine Maria Sedgwick’s Hope Leslie. While, historically, other scholars have examined the title character’s name, I argue that examining the oft-ignored significance of Faith Leslie’s name is extraordinarily important to the thematic content of the novel and could be more interesting than an examination of Hope Leslie’s name. To delve fully into the possible meanings of the dual pronunciations of Faith’s name — as either faithlessly or faithless lie — I look at religious discrimination against Catholics and Natives during the 17th and 19th centuries, as well as literary traditions during both centuries in America, including colonial captivity narratives and the redefinition of the American literary canon during the early 19th century. I also interrogate the role of Sedgwick’s family history in the crafting of her narrative, and the representations of religion and Native figures in her earlier novel, Redwood. I use a deconstructive lens to analyze Sedgwick’s works and the critical conversation surrounding them, in an attempt to demonstrate the importance of an analysis of Hope Leslie that takes into account all of the text’s sometimes contradictory implications and to reconcile the dichotomy that exists in scholarship on the text.