Tingles of terror : the neo-gothic fiction of Margaret Atwood and Jane Urquhart

Vokey, Krista R. (1994) Tingles of terror : the neo-gothic fiction of Margaret Atwood and Jane Urquhart. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Although the Gothic novel has its origins in the late eighteenth century, it may be viewed as a socially relevant novel of protest. Traditionally operating as a novel of dissent although ultimately upholding currently accepted social norms, the Gothic novel uses these conventional societal concepts and gender roles against themselves in order to displace them as the existing dominant constructs. This technique continues through to some of our modern neo-Gothic novels. -- Both Jane Urquhart and Margaret Atwood have produced novels which focus on Gothic heroines and the means that they use in their relationships to escape from restrictive roles. Despite their need for personal reassurance and stability, their relationships remain uncertain because they justifiably distrust their sometimes seemingly villainous mates. Though they are frequently uneasy, this fear is not primarily of the men involved. Instead, the fear is of being ultimately alone. Sometimes the heroines are content to continue to dream of their Byronic hero based on the Gothic villain while forming a relationship they regard as less important. This Gothic pattern is both created by these women and imposed upon them. -- The Gothic works out of the context of a patriarchal social setting. The heroines appropriate the approved social behaviours of the Gothic format in order to attempt to regain some autonomy. They invariably seek the well worn comfort of easily classifiable character types and shrink from confronting the various merging of good and evil in common everyday existence. They sometimes achieve an epiphany. However, most often, the heroine is too overtly involved in her own myth-making to be able to reflect upon internal revelations. -- Both Urquhart and Atwood use Gothic techniques to state and to argue the case for the average woman who is caught in a negative social construction. By defining the role of the anti-Gothic heroine, who in both authors is the primary focus rather than mere stereotype, they are increasing the number of possibilities open to her and subsequently, to their readers.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/9867
Item ID: 9867
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 187-196.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1994
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Feminism and literature; Gothic revival (Literature)

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