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Metaphors of ConfinementThe Prison in Fact, Fiction, and Fantasy$
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Monika Fludernik

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198840909

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198840909.001.0001

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Prisons of Femininity

Prisons of Femininity

(p.532) 9 Prisons of Femininity
Metaphors of Confinement

Monika Fludernik

Oxford University Press

Chapter 9 focuses on female imprisonment and on women’s confinement in patriarchy. The chapter starts with a consideration of real-life female imprisonment and its reflection in one literary example (Alice Walker’s The Color Purple). This is followed by a discussion of the panopticon metaphor in Angela Carter and Sarah Waters, analysing these authors’ feminist and lesbian takes on Foucault. A third section concentrates on domesticity and the body in so far as they are perceived as metaphorically confining, contrasting Susan Glaspell’s Trifles with Nadeem Aslam’s novel Maps for Lost Lovers. A final section returns to Emily Dickinson and Glaspell, focusing on the predicament of the woman writer; it notes how the female artist can escape from the straitjacket of feminine decorum only by ending up in the role of another gynophobic stereotype: that of the hysteric or the madwoman.

Keywords:   female imprisonment, patriarchy, panopticon, Alice Walker, Angela Carter, Nadeem Aslam, Susan Glaspell, Sarah Waters, Emily Dickinson, lesbianism

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