Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in English and Writing Studies



First Reader/Committee Chair

Moran, Omar


This project, informed primarily by queer theory and disability studies, examines the ways in which queerness, disability, and marginality are central to Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts, and his critique of the American Dream. Nathanael West, Jewish American novelist and screenwriter, is remembered for his work critiquing the American Dream; however, one aspect that has remained understudied is how his novels feature non-normative outsiders, past and present. The primary analysis of this project is focused on the 1933 novella Miss Lonelyhearts. Other works by West are also referenced. From West’s perspective, the American Dream was the American nightmare for most people, especially those with socially non-normative or otherwise marginal identities or inclinations. While this project extends the conversation around West’s exposure of the corruption of the American Dream for the average person, it is more so invested in uncovering the queerness present in Miss Lonelyhearts, pointing towards national anxieties around identities that are maligned with the heteronormative, ableist, and patriarchal standards of the 1930s.