Traumatic desire in three gothic texts : The Monk, Dracula, and Lost
Using psychoanalytic theory, one can see that the Gothic genre addresses fears to reveal the ever-tense dynamics between subject and object- the subject as the individual with agency and the object as that which the subject desires and which thus lacks agency. This tension between the subject and object exposes the subject's fears about the object specifically pertaining to female sexuality, desire, familial dynamics, and reproduction, and it is these fears that shape the subject's psyche. These fears are addressed in psychoanalysis on two levels: terror and horror. Terror is the fear of what one does not know, whereas horror coincides with the fear of that which one does know. This distinction itself addresses the two parts of the psyche: the unconscious and the conscious.
Through the lens of psychoanalysis, we can see that the switch or overlap between these layers of the psyche, is experienced as the uncanny, where the repressed again becomes familiar. In Gothic texts, the return of the repressed occurs for the subject as it relates to the object of desire, and the trauma surrounding this relationship. Through the analysis of three different Gothic texts from three different time periods- Matthew Lewis's The Monk (1796), Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897), and David Lindelofs contemporary television series Lost (2004 )- I argue that these texts demonstrate the ways in which their cultures understood (and understand) subjectivity as constituted through fear of and desire for the object. From the eighteenth century to the twenty-first century, we can see a transition from a reaction to trauma to a need/or trauma in the texts.
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Jones, Anna Maria
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Kearley, Miranda S., "Traumatic desire in three gothic texts : The Monk, Dracula, and Lost" (2008). HIM 1990-2015. 795.