Penguin Classics When looking at Carter’s collection of stories, ‘The Bloody Chamber,’ critic Susan Chaplin notes that “the female sexuality is simultaneously vulnerable and dangerous.” This statement succinctly encapsulates the ideas put forward by Freud, and demonstrates that within Carter’s work, female characters are virginal, but also that their sexuality, and discovery of it, is dangerous. Wordsworth Longman (pg. Cathy and Heathcliff seek to achieve their desires “without their usual filters of convention and compromise,” as John S Whitley notes. Otranto, UK – 3 edition. When Aunt Reed, her caretaker, hears the commotion, she takes her son’s side and admonishes Jane for talking back to her son. Women in Gothic literature appear to be struggling to break free of patriarchal oppression, and in the context of the Madonna-Whore complex, succeed in this by using their sexuality as a dangerous tool against men, as seen in ‘Paradise Lost’ and ‘The Bloody Chamber.’ Their sexuality, and innocence, can also make them slaves to oppressive male figures, who see their own desires in them, and wish to defile them. Could she have been justified to reacting so strongly against such confinement and for losing her rights as a wife? Her accidental murder by her father fulfils the prophecy hinted at throughout the novel that Manfred’s children will die, as he is not the legitimate heir to Otranto. It has... Madwomen in Nineteenth-Century Gothic Literature, on Hemingway Fishes for a Career-Defining Masterpiece in Cuba: The Old Man and the Sea (Part II), on Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man, and the Sea: Part I, on Like for Emily Dickenson: It’s Been a “Mouldering Pleasure” Writing Litchatte. Mental illness, or madness, is a common theme in Gothic literature, and 'Dracula' is no exception. When reading and reviewing Gothic texts, the prevalence of ghosts, mysterious apparitions, and unexplainable sounds and events is apparent. 53),  Chaplin, S. York Notes Companions Gothic Literature 106),  Carter, A. 1st edn. The Count wishes to defile her, much like the Marquis in ‘The Bloody Chamber.’ The Count explores his sexual fantasies by having sex with her dead corpse, further emphasizing that her Madonna-Whore image was conjured purely for the desire of the Count, and that she is overcome by his own sexual desires. Sounds scary. Wordsworth Classics (pg. 880),  Shakespeare, W. The Complete Works The “beautiful queen of the vampires” is initially depicted as sitting in an “antique bridal gown,” the whiteness of it implying her purity and chastity. Heights, UK – Reprint edn. However, her husband rejects such thinking. Classics (pg. The Bloody Chamber The unreliable narrator suffers from madness … Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Passion and lust are sinful in Bronte's society, and outbursts and passionate emotions suggests an imbalance in your brain. Vintage Classics (pg. Her behavior and the descriptions by the narrator seem to support the idea that she is a mad woman. It was Lady Macbeth’s plan to kill Duncan, but when deciding to murder Banquo, Macbeth protects his “dearest chuck,” which is a term of endearment. Wordsworth editions (pg. Eve, in ‘Paradise Lost’ and the Bible, is a controversial figure, as she is commonly blamed for bringing sin into the world. edn. As if the spirit and anger of the dead are being channeled through her uncle, Jane becomes outraged by her confinement and maltreatment. For the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, VA, he serves as a Board Member, gives special museum tours, and writes a monthly column for their website: thepoeblog.org. Again, this contrasts the unfortunate fate of Matilda, who fulfils the role of the victim within the novel. He teaches English at Richard Bland College of William & Mary and literature appreciation classes in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Richmond. Carter’s work emerged in an age of second wave feminism “in the 1970’s, in which women disagreed over the direction and desired outcomes of the feminist movement.” Within Carter’s stories, gender stereotypes are also not fixed for some of the female protagonists. She is also naked like a newborn, adding to her virginal appearance. 197),  Milton, J. Paradise Lost, UK – 1st edn. The brother paints and plays music to his pleasure but the sister is not permitted to have the same privileges of self-expression. Vintage Classics (pg. 870),  Shakespeare, W. The texts demonstrate the way the themes of the supernatural and madness have become a staple in Gothic fiction. 38),  Walpole, H. The Castle of A Classic Book Keeps Speaking to Us Long After It Is Written. Chamber and Other Stories, UK – New edn. Penguin Classics (pg. 211),  Milton, J. Paradise Lost, UK – 1st edn. Wordsworth Classics (pg. Heights, UK – Reprint edn. 197),  Milton, J. Paradise Lost, UK – 1st edn. This is some serious Gothic girl power. 41),  Chaplin, S (2011) York Notes Otranto, UK – 3 edition. In these incidences, the men exert power over their female counterparts, and the discovery of their sexuality leads to greater corruption. The asylum became a tool of discipline in the gothic world of sentimental fiction. The vampire is able to break these societal norms by utilizing her sexuality, and using it to entrap men, making her sexuality dangerous, but also empowered. Complete Works of William Shakespeare, UK – 1st edn. The word implies the unprovoked nature of their sex, and the promiscuity and immorality of Eve, which appears fitting as she has just eaten from the tree. Notable among these new Female Gothic writers are Doris Lessing and Margaret Atwood. As a doctor, he thinks he is prescribing the most proper treatment for her. Although Carter claimed that the ‘femininity’ depicted in her stories was created “by means outside my control,” changing gender roles are clearly tackled with the contemplation as to whether a bird could “sing only the song it knows or can it learn a new song?” The vampire in the novella contemplates her own societal restraints and proceeds to break them. She perceives that the women she perceives is trying to escape from the restrictions of being confined in the wallpaper and of not being allowed to express herself. 119),  Carter, A. Isabella too comes into this category, as her “soul is pure as virtue itself.” Manfred is aware that his “fate depends on having sons,” and proceeds to have sex with Isabella on the “night” of his own sons death. 101),  Milton, J (1667) Paradise Lost, UK – 1st edn. Otranto, UK – 3 edition. The gift of the ruby necklace marks the narrator for death, as it foreshadows her beheading and acts as a mark of “sexual ownership.” I’m sure you will never look at jewellery in the same way again. Heights, UK – Reprint edn. The Female Gothic: An Introduction When Ellen Moers wrote of the "Female Gothic" in Literary Women in 1977, she coined a new term and a laid the foundation for a new way of thinking about women and the Gothic genre. Chamber and Other Stories, UK – New edn. The Bloody Chamber Longman (pg. By Sarah Fawn Montgomery. Both Heathcliff and Cathy, in their youth are wild, unrestrained characters, and it is this shared trait that intensifies their connection and love. This can be identified through using the Male Gaze theory which suggests that a woman’s purpose is solely for male sexual pleasure. Female sexuality is similarly dangerous in ‘The Lady of the House of Love.’ This particular tale should be noted as it contorts gender roles, as it is made explicitly clear, that the female is the predator, and that the timid virgin is male. Notes Companions Gothic Literature – 1st edn. The interpretations of the theories of Structuralism and Psychoanalytic criticism in review of The Turn of the Screw by Henry James reveals that it fits the definition of Gothic fiction, is a ghost story, and is meant to frighten the audience. He is the founder and chief editor of the literary blog, www.LitChatte.com. After her murderous intent, one wonders why Mrs Macbeth would need any protecting, but perhaps after his emasculation by his own wife, Macbeth’s protection of her is an attempt to restore his own masculinity. Catherine Earnshaw too contorts gender roles, and in her youth was described as a “hatless little savage.” What a little terror. This creates the distinct personalities of Catherine Earnshaw and Catherine Linton. 191),  A Biography of John Milton, 1608 – 1674, http://darknessvisible.christs.cam.ac.uk/miltons_life.html,  Shakespeare, W (2007) The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, UK – 1st 25),  Chaplin, S (2011) York Notes Companions Gothic Literature Although both forms of madness serve the story well, and make for dramatic reading, it provides another example as to how women in Gothic literature are overlooked, and do not possess the mental strength of their male counterparts. OUP Oxford (pg.  Edgar claims that it is Heathcliff’s presence, comparing him to “poison.” Her hysteria stems from her desperation to be with Heathcliff, and the difficulty of her current situation, as she claims that she “will” not rest until she is with Heathcliff. The introduction of the protagonists’ mother alters gender stereotypes, as she is portrayed as a fearsome figure that overpowers patriarchal oppression. The protagonist clearly embodies male fear and trepidation towards the growing powers of female sexuality. The protagonist in ‘The Bloody Chamber’ is the narrator of the tale, granting her a degree of power. edn. Such ideas tell us about the status of women, and the perceptions of female madness, which was dubbed as ‘hysteria,’ implying a lack of control over their own behaviour. Both female characters exhibit the Gothic trope of using men for their own ends, which is closely linked to the Gothic females’ ability to break gender rules and social convention. ‘The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter,’ Her chastity allows her to be seen as a Madonna like figure, but the action she takes to protect herself quickly transforms her, as she embraces her sexuality. Lady Macbeth also rejects female maternal instincts, by stating that she would happily “dashed the brains out” of a baby with no remorse. The key to understanding the genre’s development lies in the culture that caused it to thrive. In several of her short stories, such as ‘The Erl King’ and ‘The Bloody Chamber,’ it is the women who overcome patriarchal oppression and become their own saviours, sometimes using their sexuality to do so. 228),  Carter, A. Heights, UK – Reprint edn. 107),  Carter, A. 138),  Carter, A. Complete Works of William Shakespeare, UK – 1st edn. 39),  Walpole, H. The Castle of Otranto, UK – 3 edition. OUP Oxford (pg. The Female Gothic. and Other Stories, UK – New edn. 36),  Bronte, E. Wuthering ... which she has taken in secret each day for years. Otranto, UK – 3 edition. Just as frequent, however, is the theme of insanity — of hallucinations, anxiety, and complete mental breakdown — particularly in … – 1st edn. This allows the novel to be compared to Carter’s ‘The Bloody Chamber,’ as women within these stories are empowered, arguably for longer than those within Otranto. ‘The Castle of Otranto’ is recognisable as the first novel of the gothic genre as the themes within this text are identifiable in all other texts studied within this essay. According to Bette B. Robert's article, "Gothic Fiction (1780-1830)," female authors and readers dominated Gothic fiction, and was in stark contrast to the domestic novels of the time, which reinforced women's roles during late 18th-century English society. OUP Oxford (pg. OUP Oxford (pg. Understanding the Author’s Life When Reading Fiction Some literary... “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong... FOR EMILY DICKINSON: WHAT PRECIOUS MOULDERING PLEASURE? In the play, and Gothic genre, women use men to complete their own goals, presenting them as the more powerful of the two sexes. As Eve is currently sinless, this enhances her status as pure. This attacks their virginal qualities, as now women are not the innocent or victimized figures, but those who are in control, disrupting traditional gender stereotypes. Despite the female protagonist’s naivety and virginity in ‘The Erl King,’ she is sexually attractive to the goblin holding her captive. Milton’s first marriage in 1642 to Mary Powell was short lived, perhaps due to his reformist views and her royalist ones, which caused contention during the first civil war. Now that their sexual activity is not innocent, and is in fact driven by lust, Eve embodies both ideas contained within the Madonna-Whore complex in ‘Paradise Lost.’ Honestly, justice for Eve! edn. Penguin Vintage Classics (pg. The sister’s name strongly suggests to readers that she is mad about something. being a or the female malady, madness took many forms, some of which were strongly linked to women and to femininity, others far less so.2 Indeed, as we shall see, some were linked to men and masculinity, and it is the complex interrelation of gender and madness, not just of women and madness in isolation, that needs to be examined. Companions Gothic Literature – 1st edn. Teaching the Literature of Mad Women On Gendered Notions of Mental Illness, and Who "Deserves" to Be Depressed. No doubt, it is amazing to read a horror story with a great plot. Notes Companions Gothic Literature – 1st edn. 11),  Carter, A. Brontë’s madwoman provides a literary template for the escaped, female lunatic. Her rejection of her own gender and femininity is what gives her the power that she craves, although she ultimately needs Macbeth to actively fulfill her desires. The Bloody Chamber ( Log Out / Heights, UK – Reprint edn. Two works that portray negative presentations of women in a Gothic setting are ‘The Bloody Chamber’ by Angela Carter and ‘Northanger Abbey’ by Jane Austen. OUP Oxford (pg. Otranto, UK – 3 edition. Same is the case with gothic novels; you can find a lot of entertainment in it in the form of scariness. 105),  Carter, A (1995) The Bloody In this event, Isabella “took it upon herself” to care for Matilda. FEMALE MONSTROSITY AND MADNESS IN SELMA LAGERLÖF’S “THE GHOST HAND” Sofia Wijkmark In the 1870s and 80s Swedish literature, like the rest of Scandinavian literature, was dominated by critical realism, a tendency inspired by the lectures of the influential Danish critic The masquerade of her newfound propriety with Edgar hides the truth of her wild, free nature. Although in the case of Matilda, they may not survive it, manipulation of gender norms is a recurring theme throughout the genre, and seems more prevalent than the outdated and distinct Madonna-Whore complex. This provides detail about men’s’ attitudes to female sexuality, as the Marquis enjoys deflowering women, and releasing their ability for evil. 192),  Milton, J (1667) Paradise Lost, Eve, not the intervention of Satan, is blamed for her sin because she is already corrupted by her gender, which is the source of her betrayal. However, she rebels against him, locks the door, and refuses to leave the room. of William Shakespeare, UK – 1st edn. Longman (pg. Every text studied provides details about females breaking free of the patriarchal society they inhabit. This ability to morph too is a classic trait of the Gothic female. 6),  Carter, A. 228),  Middleton, C. 2016. He is the founder and coordinator of the Classic Book Club in Richmond. This sexual ownership is further explored through the use of mirrors, in which “her image as a sexual object is given back to her” by the Marquis, who has the power to control and show her what she is. Otranto, UK – 3 edition. He then takes the clergymAN, wedding witnesses, and Jane up to the attic to see the madwoman. Heights, UK – Reprint edn. This is why Jane believes she is insane, because women often feared that their lose of control could lead to being accused of madness. Lady Macbeth rejects the traditional maternal role of the female, and Cathy’s animalistic and wild behaviour as a girl point to her personal manipulation of gender norms. But not loved by the Marquis, female madness in gothic literature that the men, and provides for... Narrator suffers from madness … a Classic trait of the female would deviate from the conventional norm Gothic, the. [ 61 ] Shakespeare, W. the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, W. the Complete Works of Shakespeare! Of madness in the Gothic world of sentimental fiction the female would deviate from the conventional norm controlled by,... Right to read a Book by her gender, unlike her daughter, gender... 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