Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Gothic Connection Between Women and Nature

As I read Wordsworth's "Strange fits of passion", I was reminded immediately of Keats' poem "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" (which I believe we're reading later this semester?). "La Belle Dame" is a mysterious nymph who seduces and abandons virtuous men. Wordsworth's Lucy is similarly alluring, not to mention similarly associated with nature and the night. Both works contain women who are supernaturally connected with nature, strangely in-tune with surroundings humans usually don't fully understand or may even find threatening. This supernatural connection does seem Gothic, but I wonder if it is in keeping with the fainting- damsel-in -distress character that also frequently appears in the gothic tradition. It seems to me that there are two female extremes in this tradition; either a woman must be good and completely at the mercy of her situation, or she is in some way evil and in control of men and nature alike. Since the female character in the Gothic is either light or dark, what comment does this make about women outside of these poems?

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