Lady Audley’s Secret: Angel of the Madhouse

Angel of the Madhouse The Victorian ideal of feminine behavior celebrates docility, passivity, and contentment with one’s circumstances, even when these circumstances are characterized by “dependence”, “drudgery” and “humiliation” (p.16). In Lady Audley’s Secret, Mary Braddon debunks conventional notions of… Read More ›

Catherine’s Identity in Wuthering Heights

In Wuthering Heights, the question of identity is intrinsically tied to the conception of romantic love, as seen in the character of Catherine Earnshaw. Catherine’s impassioned declaration of “Nelly, I AM Heathcliff!” suggests that her identity is grounded in her… Read More ›

Fairness and Darkness in Jane Eyre

In Jane Eyre, adjectives denoting fairness and darkness permeate Bronte’s descriptions of the characters’ physical appearances. Thus, characters such as Rochester, Blanche Ingram, Bertha Mason, Mrs. Reed and John Reed are noted for their “olive” or “dark” complexions (p. 125,… Read More ›

Space in King Lear

In Scene 1, Goneril declares that her love for Lear is “dearer than eyesight, space, or liberty” (Shakespeare 1.50). This moment foreshadows the tragedy that subsequently unfolds, where Lear loses all three things that are held to be of immense… Read More ›

Poetic sex in Ming Dynasty erotica

In “Battle in the Bathtub”, an erotic encounter is likened to an aggressive physical confrontation. The poem is important because it brings out the major concerns of The Plum in the Golden Vase through a powerfully vivid sex scene –… Read More ›

The Homeric hero

And there Odysseus lay… plotting within himself the suitors’ death – awake, alert, as the women slipped from the house, the maids who whored in the suitors’ beds each night, tittering, linking arms and frisking as before. The master’s anger… Read More ›