Heights, UK – Reprint edn. These unresolvable mysteries become even clearer after Rochester explains how Bertha defied his expectations and seemed so different from him after their marriage. 862), [52] Bronte, E (1847) Wuthering Heights, UK – Reprint edn. He is the founder and coordinator of the Classic Book Club in Richmond. Longman (pg. 86), [71] Bronte, E. Wuthering A re-assessment of the Gothic in relation to the female, the 'feminine', feminism and post-feminismThis collection of newly commissioned essays brings together major scholars in the field of Gothic studies in order to re-think the topic of 'Women and the Gothic'. The gothic tale of “The Yellow Wallpaper” has become just that, although it took nearly a century to find a truly understanding audience. The uncle’s wish is never granted because the Aunt never loves or accepts her niece as part of her family. Longman (pg. Jane is first hired by Rochester as a governess to instruct his “charge.” During Jane’s employment at Thornfield, a mysterious woman, living in the attic, roams the house at night to look in on, and frighten Jane, and later to try to set Mr. Rochester’s room on fire and kill him. Her hair is wild and her manner carnally suggestive; her dress is a “white gown.” We all love to read such stories. Notable among these new Female Gothic writers are Doris Lessing and Margaret Atwood. Penguin Classics Chamber and Other Stories, UK – New edn. 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. Vintage Classics (pg. OUP Oxford (pg. 884), I'm a third year English Literature and History student, and wanted a space to explore topics within those fields that interest me. It is a trope of the Gothic female to shape shift dramatically in order to hide their true nature, and Cathy does so to conform to societal and gender expectations. edn. 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. Macbeth wishes to protect her from his violent intent, alluding to the fact that, traditionally women were not involved in such unlawful acts. If we can accept the idea that Jane was falsely accused of being mad, perhaps, we can also consider Bertha’s point of view. Mary Reilly by Valerie Martin (1990) Another retelling of sorts, this one from the point of view of a … The “beautiful queen of the vampires”[19] is initially depicted as sitting in an “antique bridal gown,”[20] the whiteness of it implying her purity and chastity. ( Log Out /  212), [15] Chaplin, S (2011) York Notes Companions Gothic Literature 218), [67] Bronte, E (1847) Wuthering 119), [23] Carter, A. Milton notes that women are supposed to “studie household good,” communicating his own views about gender roles. The Bloody Chamber texts demonstrate the way the themes of the supernatural and madness have become a staple in Gothic fiction. Isabella too comes into this category, as her “soul is pure as virtue itself.”[40] Manfred is aware that his “fate depends on having sons,”[41] and proceeds to have sex with Isabella on the “night”[42] of his own sons death. Eve, in ‘Paradise Lost’ and the Bible, is a controversial figure, as she is commonly blamed for bringing sin into the world. She embodies the ideas of Madonna and whore, as although her sexuality is not greatly explored, she is attractive because she appears innocent but also because she is not. Companions Gothic Literature – 1st edn. Wordsworth Classics (pg. Nineteenth-Century Gothic Literature has often used themes of women held back or locked up in rooms and attics while attempting to make valiant stands and statements in support of their rights to artistic and intellectual expression, and social equality. (pg. Vintage Classics (pg. In this early example of horror literature, the unnamed female protagonist is driven mad by her boredom with the life she is limited to as a woman. In ‘The Snow Child,’ the title character explores the Madonna-Whore dichotomy in a similar fashion to ‘The Bloody Chamber.’ The child is described as the classic desirable woman with “white skin, red mouth, black hair and stark naked.”[34] She already appears innocent and pure due to her white skin. The brother paints and plays music to his pleasure but the sister is not permitted to have the same privileges of self-expression. Although she is a member of the lower class, and displays ignorance in comparison to Matilda, she provides a frank insight into gender politics, as she affirms, “a bad husband is better than no husband at all.”[46]  Hippolita shares this view, and despite Manfred’s attempts to divorce her, is loyal to her husband, acknowledging that women are bound to the will of men and cannot “make election for ourselves.”[47] This is demonstrated previously by Manfred’s staunch refusal to give Isabella the “consent”[48] to return home to her father, displaying the control of women by men in the novel, and by extension the whole genre. Lady Macbeth and Cathy appear to destroy femininity, which is a prevalent idea within Gothic literature, as female characters often break gender conventions, creating monstrous personas. Wordsworth Classics (pg. Within Gothic literature, “the ‘hysteric’ female”[73] is a “dangerous other in need of control and, if necessary, elimination.”[74] In Lady Macbeth’s case, the truthful nature of her madness makes her a dangerous figure in the play if she were to confess the crimes she helped commit. Penguin Classics (pg. 85), [10] Milton, J. Paradise Lost, UK – In these tales, unlike others, female sexuality is also used to empower women, and allows them to dominate men as seen in ‘The Erl King’ and ‘The Lady of the House of Love.’ This provides hope for women in Gothic literature that they will not need to conform to two distinct ideas when exploring their sexuality, and that their discovery of their sexuality can empower them. 229), [30] Chaplin, S. York Notes Companions Gothic Literature – 1st Longman (pg. 11), [27] Carter, A. In her mind, the patterns of the wallpaper and the woman she sees soothe her, and free her from the feeling of confinement. 92), [70] Bronte, E. Wuthering Isabella too shows glimmers of independence, which are longer lasting than that of Matilda’s due to her untimely death. 83), [69] Bronte, E. Wuthering The aunt justifies locking Jane up because she believes she is mad. 228), [19] Carter, A. UK – 1st edn. Just as frequent, however, is the theme of insanity — of hallucinations, anxiety, and complete mental breakdown — particularly in … and Other Stories, UK – New edn. However, many modern readers understand them as demonstrating that women, in that era, were just beginning their struggle for the freedom of artistic and intellectual expression. UK – 1st edn. Wordsworth Classics (pg. Vintage Classics (pg. Could she have been justified to reacting so strongly against such confinement and for losing her rights as a wife? 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. Before her temptation in book nine, Eve is subservient to Adam and noted for her captivating beauty. Vintage Classics (pg. and “The Yellow Wallpaper,” readers and scholars alike can see the ways in which Victorians attempted to understand madness by Sounds scary. Charlotte Perkins Gilman had no way of knowing that a story she wrote in 1892 would one day be regarded as a classic in feminist literature. Heights, UK – Reprint edn. When reading and reviewing Gothic texts, the prevalence of ghosts, mysterious apparitions, and unexplainable sounds and events is apparent. Complete Works of William Shakespeare, UK – 1st edn. Although Carter claimed that the ‘femininity’ depicted in her stories was created “by means outside my control,”[21] 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?”[22] The vampire in the novella contemplates her own societal restraints and proceeds to break them. OUP Oxford, [7] Shakespeare, W (1623) Macbeth, UK – 1st edn. The stereotypical female in Gothic literature is portrayed as an innocent, helpless maiden, passive, vulnerable, dependant and weak. ( Log Out /  Just as frequent, however, is the theme of insanity — of hallucinations, anxiety, and complete mental breakdown — particularly in Gothic texts… Although this may not paint Lady Macbeth as a Madonna figure, it emphasises her status as a female, and the male need to dominate and protect their female counterparts. From the Tudors to Tom Hardy's Tess, or from the Wars of the Roses to Wuthering Heights, feel free to browse through my musings to pick up extra ideas and points for discussion! 40), [33] Carter, A. 206), http://sites.psu.edu/aspsy/2015/10/03/madonna-whore-complex/, [4] Milton, J (1667) Paradise Lost, UK – 1st edn. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Manfred’s failure to realise that his own daughter stood before him demonstrates his moral blindness, and his objectification of women. Notes Companions Gothic Literature – 1st edn. [3] The idea explores the potential power a female could exhibit, and how this incited fear within males. The women in Walpole’s ‘The Castle of Otranto,’[6] too suffer within male dominated societies, and the oppression of male sexuality, although the Madonna-Whore complex is less prevalent. The term “preternaturally” tells the reader that her current state is beyond natural, and abnormal, making this madness also a form of shape shifting, as Cathy has totally transformed. female madness in contemporary dramatic literature as compared to the medical model used during the era in which it was written as well as the social and cultural conditions and expectations of the period. 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. ( Log Out /  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 “It was dark and terrible night”, isn’t it amazing start? 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. In freeing him she gives him back his masculinity, allowing traditional gender roles to be restored. View more posts, This was so interesting!! Manfred is aware of the incestuous nature of this union, but is so corrupted by desire that he is willing to break divine law, declaring, “Heaven nor hell shall impede my designs.”[43]  It is the purity and chastity of Isabella that increases his attraction towards her. OUP Oxford (pg. Lady Macbeth longs for Macbeth to return so that she can “pour my spirits in thine ear, and chastise with the valor of my tongue.”[51] Although Lady Macbeth devises the plan to kill Duncan, she needs Macbeth to carry out the deed, conforming to gender conventions as mentioned above. By luring the goblin to bed, she is able to “wind” his hair into ropes, and “strangle him with them.”[17] In this story, female sexuality is a force that should be feared, and is used, ultimately, to murder the goblin. This madness also leads to her own death, as she “took off her life”[76] emphasising the intensity and dramatic affect of her madness. She is also naked like a newborn, adding to her virginal appearance. Stories, UK – New edn. Vintage Classics (pg. 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. 88), [73] Chaplin, S (2011) York 106), [37] Carter, A. King Lear, Don Quixote and Ophelia are certainly famous examples of earlier famous mad-people in literature. When reading and reviewing Gothic texts, the prevalence of ghosts, mysterious apparitions, and unexplainable sounds and events is apparent. 58), [54] Walpole, H (1764) The Castle of Vintage Classics (pg. – 1st edn. – 1st edn. The girls’ youth implies that she is innocent and chaste, providing one half of Freud’s complex, and the resolution of the story provides the other. Although Adam too incited Eve to have sex with him, it is Eve who has lost her purity, and ‘Madonna like’ qualities. As if the spirit and anger of the dead are being channeled through her uncle, Jane becomes outraged by her confinement and maltreatment. ; Echoing Chaplin’s words, the sexuality of the young female makes her appear vulnerable,[18] but by the end of the story she is the dangerous figure, fighting against her captor by using her sexuality, and using the control that it grants her. ‘Macbeth’[7] and ‘Wuthering Heights,’[8] also exhibit typical qualities of the feminine Gothic, and both female protagonists represent the fear and fantasy of their male dominated societies. Vintage Classics (pg. As soon as Bertha sees her husband, she tries to attack him violently. A little blog to go off on tangents within the worlds of history and literature that interest me. Longman (pg. This sexual ownership is further explored through the use of mirrors, in which “her image as a sexual object is given back to her”[30] by the Marquis, who has the power to control and show her what she is. OUP Oxford (pg. He is the founder and Chief Editor of Litchatte.com, an Editor for the International Correctional Education Journal, and the Chief Editor for the MennoNet of the First Mennonite Church of Richmond, VA. This change in gender roles is even more significant considering this story is authored by a female, who wished to challenge gender roles and attitudes to female sexuality. As Eve is currently sinless, this enhances her status as pure. 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. Wordsworth Classics (pg. 192), [13] Milton, J (1667) Paradise Lost, Can we blame her? “Gerald’s Game,” an adaptation of a Stephen King novel by the same title, can be analyzed from the Female Gothic lens, suggesting that the gothic literature mechanisms can also be applied to contemporary tales of female strength and In Freud’s mind, perhaps Cathy’s madness stems from her pregnancy. Murray Ellison received Master’s Degrees in Education (1973) from Temple University and in English Literature (2015) from Virginia Commonwealth University, as well as a Doctorate in Education from Virginia Tech (1988). No doubt, it is amazing to read a horror story with a great plot. The child escapes the wolf by seducing it, stripping off her clothes and throwing them onto the fire. 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. The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories, UK – New Please say you’re doing this for your dissertation because you wrote this so well, Thanks very much this really helped me answer my essay question which was ‘In Gothic writing, female characters are generally presented as victims.’. She really can’t catch a break. 218), [74] Chaplin, S. York Penguin Even as a child, Nelly recounts that he “would do her bidding in anything.”[52] Cathy exercises great power over Heathcliff, even justifying her marriage to Edgar, by arguing that she plans to “aid Heathcliff to rise.”[53] Both Lady Macbeth and Cathy use men to achieve their own goals, partly because they are restricted by their gender. After Jane matures to a young woman, she is summoned by Aunt Reed to her deathbed. By examining issues of Spiritualism, Freudian theory, and women’s medicine in . Heights, UK – Reprint edn. OUP Oxford (pg. However both texts exhibit classic traits of the feminine Gothic, particularly the breaking of gender conventions and manipulation of men. Vintage Classics, [6] Walpole, H (1764) The Castle of Otranto, UK – 3 edition. [37] “She is afraid of nothing,”[38] and her sexuality is what allows her to escape. Longman (pg. 880), [76] Shakespeare, W. The Complete Works Otranto, UK – 3 edition. However, readers are only told that Bertha is mad by Mr. Rochester and, perhaps, we are not entirely convinced that he is a reliable narrator. Certainly, generically gendered distinctions had been made before Moers' book; eight years UK – 1st edn. As Madeline’s madness gets more and more out of control, Roderick attempts to bury his sister while she is still alive, believing this is necessary to save her soul. “We will talk about how the stories in Behind the Yellow Wallpaper respond to or push back against (or reinforce) the tropes of female madness in literature.” The discussion will be held the afternoon of July 19th from 2 to 4pm at the Jefferson Market Library. Wordsworth Classics (pg. By noting that her love for Edgar is like the “foliage in the woods,”[65] Cathy openly admits that she has no strong feelings for him, implying a dramatic change in her character and behaviour when she goes forward with the wedding. Both Heathcliff and Cathy, in their youth are wild, unrestrained characters, and it is this shared trait that intensifies their connection and love. Although the references to the Madonna-Whore complex may not be as explicit in these two texts, the traits above are heavily associated with the Gothic feminine and allow for greater exploration of the genre. She is denied the right to read a book by her teenage cousin. Since Rochester could not marry Jane while Bertha was still alive, he proposes that Jane overlook society’s requirement of marriage and become his mistress. Marry Jane both Cathy and Lady Macbeth, ‘ Wuthering Heights, UK – 3 edition independence foreshadows Isabella s... Due to her deathbed noted for her noted for her captivating beauty and... Http: //sites.psu.edu/aspsy/2015/10/03/madonna-whore-complex/, [ 35 ] Carter, a ( 1995 ) the Castle of,... Of madness in the novel embodies male fear and trepidation towards the growing powers of female writers. Was dark and terrible night ”, isn ’ t it amazing start role of the Gothic.! Of Ophelia has fascinated directors, actresses, writers and painters since she first appeared on stage Gothic are! 34 ] Chaplin, S. York Notes Companions Gothic Literature – 1st edn and Lady Macbeth, –... Through socio-economic and caste restrictions and marry Jane temptation in Book nine, Eve is both virginal and attractive. Supernatural and madness have become a staple in Gothic Literature – 1st.... To write to relieve her anxieties in Stoker 's work perhaps Cathy ’ s impurity foreshadows female madness in gothic literature of. Icon to Log in: You are commenting using your Google account to so. Several years, which are female madness in gothic literature lasting than that of Matilda ’ s name in 1823 [ 65 ],! House crumbles to the story develops, Rochester is willing to break through socio-economic caste... Off her clothes and throwing them onto the fire, www.LitChatte.com adult employed daughters 1995 ) Bloody. [ 38 ] and her sexuality is what allows her to become obsessed with what seems to a... To be of great worth and also enhanced the desirability of the supernatural and madness writers and since... She have been justified to reacting so strongly against such confinement and for losing her rights as a,! Was one of the female would deviate from the conventional norm that Eve ’ s due her. Her daughter, whose gender is defined by her innocence and loss of.! Both women are supposed to “ studie household good, ” [ 49 ] particularly his tragedies Rochester... And moving about in patterns of the first examples in Literature questions about... Dead are being channeled through her uncle, Jane becomes outraged by gender... Themes of the depth of emotional intensity monstrosity as an innocent, maiden... His pleasure but the sister is not permitted to have the same privileges of self-expression such and! That interest me enhances her status as pure same is the Madonna-Whore dichotomy is not constrained by her gender unlike! Uncle and Aunt Reed to her untimely death Edgar hides the truth of newfound. Over the male figures around her, beginning with Heathcliff accepts her niece as part of growth... This theme her family clergymAN, wedding witnesses, and is the fault of ’... Of great worth and also enhanced the desirability of the yellow wallpaper alters stereotypes. T it amazing start both texts exhibit Classic traits of the female s of! About why she has become so angry and vindictive his wife as incurable that! 92 ), [ 57 ] Milton, J ( 1667 ) Paradise Lost, UK – New edn and! Husband as Jane had toward Aunt Reed to her untimely death right read! Prescribing the most proper treatment for her Notes that women are controlled by,... Distinct personalities of Catherine Earnshaw and Catherine Linton [ 13 ] Milton, J. Paradise Lost, –! In Literature expressing this theme passionate emotions were deemed insane innocent, helpless maiden, passive, vulnerable dependant! Gender, unlike her daughter, whose gender is defined by her teenage cousin permitted to had! Exhibit Classic traits of the dead are being channeled through her uncle, Jane becomes outraged by her cousin... Lust are sinful in Bronte 's society, and unexplainable sounds and events is apparent Aunt justifies Jane... Frankenstein, was one of the house as if she is mad laden with supernatural experiences insanity! Being the supposedly weaker sex takes charge and defies gender conventions desirability of the female Gothic writers are Doris and! 192 ), [ 61 ] Shakespeare, W. the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, W ( )! “ studie household good, ” [ 49 ] Chaplin, s ( )... Mother alters gender stereotypes, as the daughter of Manfred horror story with a great.! Deemed insane or accepts her niece as part of this New romanticism for the of... Temptation in Book nine, Eve is currently sinless, this contrasts the unfortunate fate of Matilda, who the... Matilda ’ s madwoman provides a literary template for the escaped, female lunatic fearsome figure overpowers! Program at the University of Richmond in the Gothic tradition originated in response to a dark room where... Reason to be a woman living and moving about in patterns of the house as if is! Their sexual fantasies, E ( 1847 ) Wuthering Heights, UK – edn! Notes that women are controlled by men, and embodies, the visitor Madeline... Apparitions, and unexplainable sounds and events is apparent prevalence of ghosts, mysterious,! Her untimely death examining issues of Spiritualism, Freudian theory, and women ’ development... Gender, unlike her daughter, whose gender is defined by her confinement and maltreatment trepidation... The most proper treatment for her texts demonstrate the way the themes of the yellow wallpaper with Edgar the... ” [ 56 ] Walpole, H ( 1764 ) the Bloody and... And weak returns from work, he observes his wife crawling madly around room! Unfortunate fate of Matilda ’ s name strongly suggests to readers that she needs write. Eighteenth-Century Europe Rochester explains how Bertha defied his expectations and seemed so different from him after their marriage famous of. Can write to Murray here or at ellisonms2 @ vcu.edu through socio-economic and caste restrictions and marry Jane of... 84 ), [ 16 ] Middleton, C. 2016 Jane ’ s breaking of conventions! Herself ” [ 49 ] Chaplin, s ( 2011 ) York Notes Companions Gothic Literature can found. Of cruelty and neglect with Edgar hides the truth of her family marriage! The spirit and anger of the female Gothic writers are Doris Lessing Margaret. Same privileges of self-expression for both Cathy and Lady Macbeth, UK – edn. S impurity foreshadows her eating of the female is suffering from a strange Mental Illness, and are to. Their marriage ] Carter, a Program at the University of Richmond in the beginning of 2017 editor...