Deconstructing Sleeping Beauty : Angela Carter and Écriture Feminine

University essay from Södertörns högskola/Institutionen för kultur och kommunikation

Abstract: When attempting to convey certain political or ideological agendas in literary texts maintaining specific writing strategies can work as a useful tool. From a feminist perspective the use of écriture feminine as a means of undermining patriarchy has been largely neglected as well as misunderstood by many feminists. However, as argued in this essay, écriture feminine is not only a useful tool for pursuing a feminist agenda, but is also something that needs to be discussed due to the many misunderstandings of it. Resting on the theoretical perspectives of Judith Butler, Hélène Cixous, Antonio Gramsci, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Richard Slotkin this essay investigates Angela Carter’s short story “The Lady of the House of Love” in relation to écriture feminine by exploring how the text rejects patriarchy and its idea of the gender binary. In this short story Carter re-works the classic Sleeping Beauty fairy tale and provides us with a feminist’s version of it. The main thesis of this essay is therefore that Carter challenges the gender binary by de-victimizing “woman” and by engaging in a style of writing that overturns western culture’s definitions of “woman” Carter provides a version of Sleeping Beauty that radically differs from the hegemonic/patriarchal versions.

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