American Nightmares: The Haunted House Formula in American by Dale Bailey

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By Dale Bailey

 When Edgar Allan Poe set down the story of the accursed apartment of bring in 1839, he additionally laid the basis for a literary culture that has assumed a long-lasting position in American tradition. “The apartment of Usher” and its literary progeny haven't lacked for tenants within the century and a part due to the fact that: writers from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Stephen King have taken rooms within the haunted homes of yank fiction. Dale Bailey lines the haunted residence story from its origins in English gothic fiction to the paperback potboilers of the current, highlighting the original value of the home within the family, fiscal, and social ideologies of our country. the writer concludes that the haunted residence has develop into a robust and profoundly subversive image of every thing that has long past nightmarishly awry within the American Dream.

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After I get it all to bed, I tum around to my typewriter and try to-well, to create concrete things again. It's great fun, and I love it. But it doesn't tie any shoes. (15) Significantly, it was as a wife and mother-a homemaker, a shoe tierand not as a writer of "haunted, cryptic" tales that Jackson's community knew her. M. to fix breakfast for the family, taxied them to school until they were old enough to walk to school alone, saw them as part of the community, baked mountains of brownies for them, for volunteer fire department bake sales (often enough, we would come into our own kitchen around 8 in the morning to find Shirley waiting for us with a fresh batch of cookies or brownies-almost to the day she died), and encouraged the children to join Little League, the Scouts, etc.

In "The Yellow Wallpaper," ironically, the narrator's defiance of her husband's authority results in more proscriptions. As Catherine Golden notes, although Weir Mitchell's rest cure was 32 American Nightmares in accordance with the most advanced neurological thinking of his day, in modern eyes it can be read as an attempt to reorient women to the domestic sphere (and away from influences of their changing world) so that they could fulfill their most important role in society: to bear and rear children.

Unlike the wantonly sensual Theo-"I'd like to paint myself all over," Theo says (116)-Eleanor, at thirty-two, can no more conceive of herself as a sexual being than Queen Victoria, who, it's said, closed her eyes and thought of the country. In fact, her sexual morality has not advanced much beyond that of the Puritans who pasted the A on Hester Prynne's adulterous breast. Both ideologies divert female sexuality into patriarchal channels; both punish the "whore," the woman who takes pleasure in sex for herself.

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