Uneasy Lie the Bones: Alice Sebold’s Postfeminist Gothic

Sarah Whitney, Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

This essay considers the novels of Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones (2002) and The Almost Moon (2007), within the nascent genre of postfeminist gothic. Sebold, the essay argues, revivifies the female Gothic genre in a moment that is invested in minimizing and repressing gendered inequity. The posthumous narrative of The Lovely Bones addresses the “victim/agent” debate within postfeminist discourse while dissipating rage over the heroine’s rape and murder through a variety of textual strategies. By contrast, The Almost Moon’s mad matricidal heroine exposes the rage simmering beneath the surface of postfeminism’s supposedly compliant visage. Both works explore the difficulty of writing about gendered violence and reveal tensions within postfeminist ideology.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]