Publication Date

Summer 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Christopher White

Second Advisor

Dr. Liam Lanigan

Third Advisor

Laura White


Crime fiction is a genre whose female characters are often misunderstood, weak, powerless victims. Domestic noir, a subgenre of crime fiction, does the opposite. Authors of domestic noir fiction dig into the female experiences, seeking to understand and write women characters who represent feminism and femininity despite any shortcomings they have. In Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, I argue that reading this novel through the Critical Feminist Theory changes the interpretation of the female experience. Instead of reading the book for entertainment, digging into the larger scale issues in this book sheds light on the women’s experiences. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is another novel misunderstood through the female main character. I argue that Amy’s villainy doesn’t make her any less feminine even though she is a psychopath. Often compared to Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is focused in this thesis as its own entity. In contrast to Big Little Lies’ female main characters, Hawkins explores three female main characters who are not so privileged, who do not exude feminism, women who make mistakes in which there is no coming back from, and women who have loved too much or have been loved too little; all of whom emulate feminism in their individuality.