Date of Award

Spring 4-12-2019

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English, Linguistics, and Communication

Department Chair or Program Director

Richards, Gary

First Advisor

McAllister, Marie

Major or Concentration



Rhonda Fowler

ENGL 447K 01

Dr. Marie McAllister

12 April 2019

“Poor Creature:” Class Subjugation in Samuel Richardson’s Pamela

In Samuel Richardson’s Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded, published in 1740, the

struggles of the novel’s heroine, Pamela, reveal significant marginalization due to her

class status as a servant. A linguistic and literary analysis reveals a peculiarity, the

excessive use of the word “creature,” which I believe Richardson intentionally employs

to reveal the source of Pamela’s feelings of marginalization. In Richardson’s text, the

word “creature” is used one hundred fifty-nine times. Of those one hundred fifty-nine

times, one hundred twenty- six are directed at Pamela. Richardson deploys the

speech of Pamela and others, through the use of the word “creature,” as a motif which

signals class subjugation. Through the novel’s usage of “creature,” Richardson warns

that despite Pamela’s desire to alleviate her class subjugation through marriage, class

mobility is not feasible and, therefore, Pamela is destined to remain a marginalized,

inferior “creature.”