Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Cheryl Walker

Reader 2

John Peavoy

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2012 Elizabeth Lain Lyon


Within Gothic literature, the mother is frequently missing. In Charles Brockden Brown’s Edgar Huntly, Edgar Allan Poe’s “Morella,” “Ligeia,” and “Eleonora,” and Edith Wharton’s “Bewitched,” men are left without parents, and they attempt to recuperate a mother-figure. To do so, the men in these texts psychologically project the role of their mother onto other women. Wives, sisters, and daughters all have the potential to become mothers to these men. This is a catastrophe for the women involved, for male perception fails to distinguish females as autonomous, unique beings. By conflating roles in the family structure, men destroy women and thus are left without the nurturing mother-figure – or indeed any female – they desperately need.