Feminine Gothic and the Feminine Gothic View of Joyce Carol Oates


The Journal of American Culture and Literature, vol.1, pp.255-265, 2002 (International Refereed University Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 1
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Title of Journal : The Journal of American Culture and Literature
  • Page Numbers: pp.255-265


The recent neo-Gothic still draws on deep rooted fears, social taboos, and the modern indiividual's ineptitude and lack of control over her/his own life. There are no castles, haunted caves, dark forests but there are crowded cities with hidden psychos, killers, and thieves. Like her contemporaries, Joyce Carol Oates' work deals with psychic grotesquerie in a world of social and personal decadence. Oates' work expresses impressively the double-sized fear and anxiety women experience amongst the terror and threats of the modern world. Not only women but also other vulnerable beings like children, daughters, sons, and the old also suffer from violence aiming at their victimization. In today's life, the Gothic emerges as a sudden transformation of the familiar into the unfamiliar and the annihilator. What is feminine, is subject to Gothic pressure, which should essentially be expressed as the "Feminine-gothic". In this study, The conventional images of femininity and female subjugation (and female baiting) are explored alongside the paranoia and impotence characterizing our age, within the short stories of Joyce Carol Oates.