"The Case of Mary Phagan,'A Story About the Story of a Murder': Constructing a Crime"
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In my thesis, I explain the multiple identities created to describe the victim and her accused murderer(s). Press reports, trial records, and secondary historical accounts of the crime all reveal a fascination with the young female victim and a desire to solve the mystery of her death. By examining personal identity as a cultural construction, I re-evaluate the manner in which we define and describe crime.
Phagan's murder became a cautionary tale, a narrative of sexual danger within the model city of the New South. My thesisillustrates the importance of understanding murder as an event occurring within and shaped by a social context. The murder of Mary Phagan and the Frank case demonstrate how we ascribe meaning to tragic events and how variables such as race, class, gender, and age affect the outcome of criminal procedures.
- Masters Theses