Scientia 2005: Rebecca Sparling

Rebecca Anita Sparling is receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in Journalism. After her graduation, she will be taking some time off before applying to graduate schools where she plans to study English. She is a member of Lambda Iota Tau (Marywood’s English Honor Society) and the Bayleaf (Marywood’s Literature/Art Magazine). Rebecca chose to pursue a Citation in Honors because she felt that the honors program would be a good way to expand her educational opportunities and help prepare her for the future, and she appreciated the individualized attention that she was able to receive from the professors. Rebecca would like to thank Dr. Helen Bittel for her encouragement, guidance, and friendship. Without her patience and support, Rebecca never would have learned so much or achieved as much as she has. Rebecca would also like to thank Dr. Conlogue and Dr. Brassard for always encouraging her to continue on the honors path. Also, as always, she needs to thank her family and friends, especially her parents and twin brother Rob, for their never-ending support and love.

Princess Lessons: Gender, Power and The Princess Diaries

Director: Dr. Helen Bittel
Reader: Christina Elvidge


“Whatever comes,” she said, “Cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside.” --A Little Princess, Francis Hodgson Burnett

This quote is from the children’s classic A Little Princess, just one of the thousands of stories that deal with the idea of the princess. From folklore to fairy tales, from books to movies, princesses have been and continue to be major figures in our popular culture. But, what is it about this character that seems to captivate our imaginations and has us seeing the reincarnation of this figure in our entertainment decade after decade? Is it simply a fascination with royalty and all that comes along with it— the riches, the power and the prestige— or is there something else at the heart of being a princess that keeps us coming back for more? As Burnett’s quote suggests, there seems to be more to the idea of the princess than simply living out a fairy tale existence. But, is it the idea of being outwardly beautiful or having inner poise, of having power over others or the idea of being able to help them, or a combination of all these things that shapes our idea of what a princess should be? How has the figure of the princess changed along with the times?

Full Article in PDF Form