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Missing Mother: The Female Protagonist\u27s Regression to the Imaginary Order in Shirley Jackson\u27s The Haunting of Hill House, The Sundial, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle

By Julie Ann Baker

Abstract

This study examines the psyches of the female protagonists from three of Shirley Jackson’s Gothic novels: Eleanor Vance in The Haunting of Hill House, Aunt Fanny Halloran in The Sundial, and Merricat Blackwood in We Have Always Lived in the Castle. A psychoanalytic and feminist reading is applied to the texts to elucidate the characters’ rejection of the Symbolic Order and regression to the Imaginary Order, and Lacan’s theories of the Desire of the Mother and objet petit a are also applied to the texts to further delineate this regression. Julia Kristeva’s work regarding the lost object of the mother is drawn upon as well in exploring the characters’ desires for their mothers underscoring their position within the Imaginary. Finally, the protagonists’ utilization of stories in establishing psychosocial boundaries is argued as an additional means by which these women usher themselves into fantasies removed from reality

Topics: \u3cp\u3eJackson, Shirley, 1916-1965 -- Criticism and interpretation.\u3c/p\u3e \u3cp\u3eHorror tales, American -- History and criticism.\u3c/p\u3e \u3cp\u3eWomen in literature -- Criticism and interpretation.\u3c/p\u3e, American Literature, American Studies, Arts and Humanities, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Women\u27s Studies
Publisher: Marshall Digital Scholar
Year: 2017
OAI identifier: oai:mds.marshall.edu:etd-2133
Provided by: Marshall University

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