The Witch and Female Emancipation

Robert Egger’s The Witch (2015) follows a Puritan family’s descent into hysteria after being banished to the woods from Plymouth Plantation in the 1630s. After the disappearance of their new-born son, Samuel, and the mysterious illness and eventual death of their teenage son Caleb, Thomasin’s family accuse her of killing them both with witchcraft. As … More The Witch and Female Emancipation

Why I Love Clueless

Clueless is one of my all-time favourite films; it is an exquisite parody of itself. At 10, the satirical elements were not immediately obvious- I just loved the colours, the humour, and the soundtrack. The latter element is a thesis in itself, adding to the irony with songs like No Doubt’s ‘I’m Just a Girl’. Clueless is that … More Why I Love Clueless

Insanity and Rest Cure in The Yellow Wallpaper

“John says if I don’t pick up faster he shall send me to Weir Mitchell in the fall. But I don’t want to go there at all.”[1] Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper is the semi-autobiographical short story describing a woman’s descent into madness during the course of a confinement intended to cure her of … More Insanity and Rest Cure in The Yellow Wallpaper

Ambiguity and the Uncanny in The Turn of the Screw

“The story won’t tell… not in any literal, vulgar way.”[1] Published in 1898, Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw has since been the subject of an enormous range of literary criticism as critics try to answer the novella’s most compelling question: are the ghosts real, or a figment of the governess’s imagination? Critic Edmund … More Ambiguity and the Uncanny in The Turn of the Screw

Women and Madness in Victorian Literature

Victorian Literature is rife with female characters who suffer, or at least appear to suffer, from a variety of mental illnesses. The condition of Hysteria and other related illnesses was specifically gendered as a female affliction, literally stemming from the womb and thus contemporary medical science methods of treating such disorders were focused on repressing … More Women and Madness in Victorian Literature


Cleopatra is a woman with status: she commands others and is sovereign over herself. However, she lives in a man’s world and is therefore still limited by the stereotypes of female behaviour and subject to the codes of femininity valued by society in spite of her position as Queen of Egypt. Using Plutarch’s Lives of … More Cleopatra

Goneril & Regan

Despite their secondary role to the male protagonists of Shakespeare’s tragedies, women play a crucial role as they serve as the source of the hero’s downfall. The chaos of King Lear begins when his daughters refuse to comply with the codes of femininity. The paradox then is that “the masculinity of the tragic heroes is … More Goneril & Regan