Presenter(s): Jordan Hobgood
Title: Stereotypes in Society and Story: Gender Roles in Joyce Carol Oates’s Bellefleur
Developed under the guidance of Dr. Sherry Truffin , English
The grotesque figures and dark, mysterious settings of the American Gothic novel can disorient and distance readers who wonder what lesson could come from such an unfamiliar world. However, the differences between the Gothic and reality should not unsettle readers quite as much as their similarities. Joyce Carol Oates exemplifies this in her novel Bellefleur by depicting the familiar and infectious prevalence of restrictive gender roles in a Gothic America. This paper will present and analyze feminist criticisms of Bellefleur to demonstrate how Oates’s characters and plot challenge gender stereotypes and urge readers to reflect upon women’s struggle for power.