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Reading: Leda or Living Doll? Women as Dolls in Angela Carter’s The Magic Toyshop

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Leda or Living Doll? Women as Dolls in Angela Carter’s The Magic Toyshop

Author:

Donna Mitchell

Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, IE
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Abstract

This article will use the figure of the doll to consider female identity and performativity in Angela Carter’s The Magic Toyshop (1967). It will build upon recent Gothic criticism from Andrew Hock Soon Ng’s Women and Domestic Space in Contemporary Gothic Narratives: The House as Subject (2015), which defines the domestic space in this novel as a theatre box that reduces its occupants to actors that must execute the correct gender performativity at all times. Specifically, it will use a doll motif to explore the effect of this demand on the Gothic heroine who is demoted to the status of a silent and submissive doll-like entity. Firstly, it will discuss the complex formation of female identity and the various elements that influence the process. Secondly, it will analyze the female subject’s struggle for control of her identity and autonomy against a villainous patriarch, which is a common theme in many classic and contemporary Gothic narratives. Finally, it will evaluate how the doll and heroine analogy epitomizes the many components of female identity and performativity as well as the repression of the Gothic heroine by outside forces through its discussion of the relentless conflict between Melanie and Uncle Philip.

How to Cite: Mitchell, D., (2017). Leda or Living Doll? Women as Dolls in Angela Carter’s The Magic Toyshop. Studies in Gothic Fiction. 5(2), pp.4–12. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18573/j.2016.10104
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Published on 27 Jan 2017.
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