I'd Rather See You Dead at My Feet: Familial Failure in "The Well of Loneliness" and "The Paying Guests"
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What does it mean for a relationship to be strange? How do we define a normal relationship? Primarily using Radclyffe Hall’s “The Well of Loneliness” and Sarah Waters’s “The Paying Guests,” this project is an analysis of familial dynamics in lesbian novels that take place in the early 20th century. Focusing on the mother-daughter relationship, this project grapples with the ideas of the normal and the strange, or the expected and the unexpected, within the family structure. What emotions, expressions of love, and interactions do we anticipate seeing between mother and daughter? Do these maternal relationships meet these expectations? If not, what elements of the “normal” relationship are missing and how are they replaced? Families in lesbian literature have a strong tendency to portray what I deem abnormal relationships between mother and daughter—relationships fraught with cruelty, silence, and ambivalence. The fathers, on the other hand, are almost always either dead or absent. This project discusses these abnormalities and their effects on the daughters, the mothers, and the lesbian literature genre as a whole.
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Terhune, Zoe Trudel, "I'd Rather See You Dead at My Feet: Familial Failure in "The Well of Loneliness" and "The Paying Guests"" (2018). Senior Projects Spring 2018. 251.
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