Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

English (M.A.)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Ashley Shannon

Second Advisor

Corinna McLeod

Third Advisor

Sherry Johnson

Fourth Advisor

David Alvarez

Academic Year



In “Under Western Eyes,” Chandra Mohanty explains how some Western feminist scholars unconsciously other third-world women by imposing on them their Eurocentric universality. Using Mohanty as a primary lens, this thesis argues that in Chris Cleave’s Little Bee (2008), the protagonists, Sarah and Little Bee, are respectively represented as a Western referent and a third-world preconstituted woman, rendering any true collaboration between them impossible. Little Bee is meant to enlighten its readers of the plight of refugees in the United Kingdom, and in some ways it does just that. Little Bee also, however, situates the English protagonist Sarah as a frame of measurement for all of the third-world women in the novel, particularly the Nigerian asylum-seeker, Little Bee, and in doing so, positions Little Bee and all the novel’s women of color as already-constructed characters of the Global South. In opposition to the representation of the liberated and independent Sarah, Little Bee and her asylum-seeking companions are presented as little more than victims of male violence who are dependent on various institutions for their welfare. I use several other postcolonial theorists to critique the binary positioning of the two protagonists, and these different approaches allow for a comprehensive study of what are presented as seemingly equal female characters in Sarah and Little Bee.