Title

Trapped by the Gaze: Spatial and Power Dynamics of Courtship in the Grimm Brothers’ “Rapunzel” and Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter”

Subject Area

Women and Gender Studies

Abstract

This paper will examine the degree that spatial dynamics play in manifestations of desire and power during a courtship tale and whether or not this space, when coupled with those elements of desire, can be a predictor of a tragic or happy ending. In order to explore the dynamics of desire, this essay will revisit an ambiguous section of Freud’s discussion of scopophilia (masochism/sadism) in Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex (1905). For the discussion of spatial dynamics, I will draw upon the Grimm brothers’ fairy tale, “Rapunzel” (1812) and the tower and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Rappaccini’s Daughter” (1844) and the garden. Although women are often physically confined in these spaces, the smaller the space, the more autonomy the woman seems to have in accepting a man as her suitor; space and autonomy are inversely proportional. In contrast, the power dynamics during actual courtship ebb and flow between lovers. Through this analysis, I intend to demonstrate that the place in which a courtship scene takes place has a direct correlation to a happy or tragic ending.

Brief Bio Note

Amy Catania is a third year PhD student in Comparative Literature at Louisiana State University. She, also, holds Masters Degrees in Comparative Literature and Library and Information Science. Her main areas of focus are feminist studies, psychoanalysis, and nineteenth century literature.

Keywords

Masochism, Sadism, Psychoanalysis, Love, Desire, Women, Garden, Tower, Folklore, Fairy tale

Location

Room 218

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-26-2015 3:00 PM

End Date

3-26-2015 4:15 PM

Embargo

5-23-2017

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Mar 26th, 3:00 PM Mar 26th, 4:15 PM

Trapped by the Gaze: Spatial and Power Dynamics of Courtship in the Grimm Brothers’ “Rapunzel” and Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter”

Room 218

This paper will examine the degree that spatial dynamics play in manifestations of desire and power during a courtship tale and whether or not this space, when coupled with those elements of desire, can be a predictor of a tragic or happy ending. In order to explore the dynamics of desire, this essay will revisit an ambiguous section of Freud’s discussion of scopophilia (masochism/sadism) in Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex (1905). For the discussion of spatial dynamics, I will draw upon the Grimm brothers’ fairy tale, “Rapunzel” (1812) and the tower and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Rappaccini’s Daughter” (1844) and the garden. Although women are often physically confined in these spaces, the smaller the space, the more autonomy the woman seems to have in accepting a man as her suitor; space and autonomy are inversely proportional. In contrast, the power dynamics during actual courtship ebb and flow between lovers. Through this analysis, I intend to demonstrate that the place in which a courtship scene takes place has a direct correlation to a happy or tragic ending.