By D. Downey
This publication exhibits simply how heavily overdue nineteenth-century American women's ghost tales engaged with gadgets corresponding to pictures, mourning paraphernalia, wallpaper and humble household furnishings. that includes uncanny stories from the large urban to the small city and the empty prairie, it deals a brand new standpoint on an previous style.
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Extra info for American Women’s Ghost Stories in the Gilded Age
This is particularly important when one is dealing with fiction that employs supernatural tropes, since, ‘When it is “naturalized” as allegory or symbolism, fantasy loses its proper non-signifying nature. Part of its subversive power lies in this resistance to allegory or metaphor. 19 Furthermore, the marvelous corresponds to the mode of metaphor, or more accurately to allegory, and the uncanny to that of psychological realism. In the marvelous, the figurative is so fully elaborated that it takes on a life of its own, and no reference is made within the text to the ‘real’ world of which the textual one is but an image and a distortion.
66 Picturing the Gothic Female Body 37 Spofford’s text stops abruptly here. The narrative therefore leaves Yone standing eternally next to the clock that signals her removal from temporal existence, even as it illustrates her continued interaction with the objects and spaces of the living. Her ability to continue narrating beyond the expiration of her physical form suggests that she has succeeded in evading Rose’s violently reifying artistic gaze, escaping her loveless marriage by dying and gleefully haunting the house that is no longer hers, thus ending the gothic repetition that has doomed her ancestors to be cruel and miserable.
The result, for Gilman, was a woman clad In garments whose main purpose is unmistakably to announce her sex; with a tendency to ornament which marks exuberance of sexenergy, with a body so modified to sex as to be grievously deprived of its natural activities; [ ... 14 Sharing these concerns, scientists and domestic reformers sought to reduce some of this Sisyphean drudgery by simplifying the decorative contents of the home. 15 As one decorating manual put it, strongly prefiguring Gilman’s story, The decoration of the bedrooms cannot be too simple: the principal thing being to select a paper that has an all-overish pattern that cannot be tortured into geometrical figures by the occupant of the chamber, who, especially in hours of sickness, is well-nigh driven to distraction by counting over and over again the dots and lines and diamonds which dance with endless repetition before his aching eyes.