From Imposition to Implement: Strategic Gender in Gothic Apologues Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • May 15, 2019
  • Long, Emily
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • Since the 1970s, two main terms have been used to describe people who do not fit neatly into polarized gender roles: androgynous and genderqueer. I implement a psychosocial framework to analyze how Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “Dr. Clair’s Place,” Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook, and Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine go beyond these terms and advocate instead for strategic gender. Though they vary in country of origin, genre, and century of publication, they approach a similar dilemma. Each of these works portrays a female member of the traditional nuclear family—wife, mother, and daughter, respectively—who must devise a way to preserve her own mental health amid large-scale social conditions that deny her fulfillment, sanity, and perhaps even survival on the basis of her femininity. Through an analysis of the macro- and micro-level gender relationships portrayed in these works, I consider how these case studies function as apologues that go beyond realism to push against the oppression of the conventional gender binary by arguing that gender can be both fluid and utilitarian.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Richards, Eliza
  • Bachelor of Science
Academic concentration
  • English
Honors level
  • Honors
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2019
  • English

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