Open Access Senior Thesis
English & World Literature
© 2013 Samantha E. Morse
This essay investigates the integral linkages between Gothic spaces and Gothic masculinities in three texts: Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764), Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813), and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847). At the core of this examination is architecture, or more specifically, the physical constructions and built environments that comprise a man’s property. I explore how a man uses his property to construct, legitimize, and perform his identity. In the Female Gothic, the home is a place of anxiety for women, where patriarchal dominance and violence reign to constrain female agency. I argue that the home is also an anxiety-ridden space for men, who are similarly tyrannized by a force they have limited power to fight against: legality. The issue of legally legitimized property ownership as a means of defining masculine selfhood in these texts lead men to extreme, and arguably unnatural, resorts to cling to their coveted status as autonomous property holders and virile men. In short, I aim to define a specifically Gothic masculinity. Yet, by using Pride and Prejudice, I will argue that this Gothic masculinity is not limited to Gothic texts.
Morse, Samantha E., "Dreading He Knew Not What: Masculinities, Structural Spaces, Law and the Gothic in The Castle of Otranto, Pride and Prejudice, and Wuthering Heights" (2013). Pitzer Senior Theses. 58.