• Camilla Szuster
4. term, English, Master (Master Programme)
The intention of this Master’s thesis is to investigate how sexuality and gender construction/identity is represented in the novels The Tale of the Body Thief by Anne Rice and Gerald’s Game by Stephen King. Moreover, it seeks to investigate the extent to which the authors’ gender is connected to these representations thus looking at how the authors fit the image of the gendered horror writer. In order to do so the paper draws on various theories and approaches, mainly feminist and poststructuralist. The theoretical approach is mainly governed by the feminist constructivist theories of Simone de Beauvoir and Judith Butler. The methodological approach consists of a mixture of feminist discourse analysis along with various literary theories and linguistics, where the theories of Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, Ferdinand de Saussure, Jacques Derrida and Deborah Cameron are in focus. The overall structure of the paper’s inquiry is twofold but in the first part there is a subsequent subdivision into thematic and stylistic representations. The thematic representations of sexuality and gender are studied through character analysis, where the characters are seen in their relations to each other. It shows how King’s representations focus on female liberation and agency, whereas Rice tries to transcend categories of gender in the representations of her characters. The investigation of the stylistic representations firstly looks into the metafictional planes in the novels, which shows how the authors employ these levels in order to emphasize and comment on their themes. Secondly it concentrates on linguistic and discursive productions of gender in the narratives, where King’s novel once again focuses on female agency whereas Rice displays a far more neutral style of writing. On all the levels under investigation, both writers show gendered identity as something the individual produces. The self is a tabula rasa on which identity is written. When the paper turns to the latter part of the inquiry, concerning the authors’ gender, it looks first at Stephen King and then Anne Rice in connection to the findings of the previous sections. It describes how both authors identify with the gendered experiences and gendered bodies of their protagonists who both oppose the gender of the authors, thereby dissolving the established notion of the gendered horror writer. The main focus lies on the first part of the analysis whereas the latter part is only investigated briefly in comparison. But the latter part functions as a form of reflection on the first part and is a necessary bridge between the analysis and the conclusion. Overall the paper seeks to dismantle the old conceptions of the gendered horror genre and the gendered horror author. Moreover, it suggests that the horror medium and its writers often tend to transcend gender, and the body, in the writing found within the genre. The conclusion to this inquiry is, in relation to the two novels investigated, that it is indeed possible to write outside one’s body.
Publication date2008
Number of pages89
Publishing institutionAalborg Universitet
ID: 14412766