The Female Supernatural Being in Contemporary Gothic Literature and Film

Prerna Gill

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This paper was originally prepared in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an MA degree in contemporary English literatures from Leeds Metropolitan University. The work is heavily focused on supernatural elements in the relevant texts examined here, with an emphasis on the female supernatural being and her evolution in both literature and film. Psychoanalytic examination and a close analysis of the relationships between supernatural elements and the current social scenario, are used to provide a few possible explanations for both the purpose and need for the changing role of the female supernatural being in contemporary fiction.

One example is the analysis of the eponymous and possibly spectral character in Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Whilst the treatment of race and racism has been studied by a number of critics, this paper is an attempt to bring focus on the portrayal of the feminine and masculine, mother–daughter duality and the fading boundaries between past and present through a feminine form. Other works examined in this paper include Kim Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking, Stephen King’s Carrie and the films The Exorcist and An American Haunting.

This paper is in no way a complete and a thorough study of the female supernatural in contemporary fiction. It is an attempt to study and speculate on the female occult in the selected texts and films, with the aim of providing a few ideas on the purpose behind the changing roles and image of a popular group of fictional characters.

Prerna Gill is presently pursuing an MA degree in Contemporary English Literatures from Leeds Metropolitan University. She is a graduate from Delhi University with a B.A. honors in English Literature. She uses her interest in folklore and mythology along with literature, to research popular figures in fiction, especially those present in Gothic literature and film. Her other endeavors include writing poetry and fiction, as well as researching lesser-known figures from Indian folklore. As of yet, her finished work is a collection of poems titled The Shepherd Lies published by KW Publishers.

Contents
Abstract
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1. The Supernatural Female in on Temporary Female Gothic Literature
1.1 Sethe and Beloved in Toni Morrison’s Beloved
1.2 Rachel Morgan in Kim Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking

2. The Female Other in Male Gothic Literature
2.1 Female Vampires in Stoker’s Dracula and Le Fanu’s Carmilla
2.2 Stephen King’s Carrie

3. Film and the Female ‘Monster’
3.1 The Exorcist
3.2 An American Haunting

Conclusion
Appendix I
Bibliography

 

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