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Although many critics have tackled his agonized texts, little critical attention pays attention to the ghostly female characters so common in Poe’s work. “Morella,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “Premature Burial” and many other stories feature women that follow the same general pattern of illness, death, and monstrosity. Poe clearly links femininity with illness and death in his stories, but the ambiguity surrounding the stories themselves makes any definite conclusions difficult to determine. Poe appears to utilize these women as an exploration of gender roles and their negative effects on the individual. More interestingly, later media influenced by Poe uses the same sickly model to explore similar gender gender, usually the consequences of womanhood on women. Other works like Bram Stoker’s Dracula in the latter nineteenth century employ the sickly woman construct to make more definite statements about appropriate gender norms, again linking death to femininity. This literary device is also adopted by several films in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Films like Silence of the Lambs, Mama, Thanatomorphose use the similar female characters and constructs to explore negative consequences of societal gender norms. Poe’s creation of the sick, ghost woman as an exploration of gender consequence can be traced through artistic tradition from the Victorian era to modern day. I will be utilizing a powerpoint for this presentation.


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18 Jul 2022
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  • Subject
    • English

  • Institution
    • Gainesville

  • Event location
    • Robinson Ballroom B

  • Event date
    • 1 April 2015

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Kristin Kelly