Chapter

Familial Ghosts: Louise Stockton, Olivia Howard Dunbar, Edith Wharton, Josephine Daskam Bacon, Elia Wilkinson Peattie, Georgia Wood Pangborn, and Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock

in Scare Tactics

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780823229857
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241040 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823229857.003.0005
Familial Ghosts: Louise Stockton, Olivia Howard Dunbar, Edith Wharton, Josephine Daskam Bacon, Elia Wilkinson Peattie, Georgia Wood Pangborn, and Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

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This chapter addresses a different set of female anxieties — one that has less to do with outright violence and more to do with cultural expectations and social demands. The dominant issues in ghost stories by Victorian and Edwardian women do not concern women being murdered or physically abused by men but rather marriage and motherhood. In stories focused on these themes, the tensions between the idealized expectations surrounding feminine roles and the far less fulfilling realities of marital life for many women are brought to the fore. Ghost stories that address marriage, according to Catherine Lundie, deal with infidelity, psychological and sexual abuse, arranged marriages, and the incompatibility of partners. In this chapter the author surveys a variety of ghostly American tales by Victorian and Edwardian women that attend to the subjects of marriage and motherhood and that reflect differing opinions on the subjects.

Keywords: ghost stories; Olivia Howard Dunbar; Victorian women; Edwardian women; Louise Stockton; marriage; motherhood; Josephine Daskam Bacon; Georgia Wood Pangborn; Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

Chapter.  14330 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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