Words of Wisdom:

"Evil is not bad, just missunderstood" - Tom Felton" - Msgg


  • Date Submitted: 01/14/2013 06:34 AM
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“We do not have to renounce being women in order to be mothers”
Discuss the representation of the mother figure with reference to Irigaray/ Cixious

Carter explores the effect of absent mothers - Irigarary and Cixious’ theories anticipate / foreshadow this
Overall plan
1. Melanie’s mother -   the absent mother
2.Mrs Rundle
3.Aunt Margaret

Irigaray and Cixious’ theories can be useful when applied to a reading of The Magic Toyshop as they anticipate ideas that Angela Carter explores.

What is interesting about the novel is that there are no mothers in the narrative. Within the first few pages of the novel, Carter chooses to kill off Melanie’s mother, leaving us to only discover and feel the remnants of the mother figure in the subtext. I would suggest that Cixious’ theory on ‘The Bodily Encounter with the Mother’ is extremely useful when applied to The Magic Toyshop.

In order to fully understand The Magic Toyshop it is necessary to understand the novel within the context of a patriarchal literary tradition.

Absent mothers -
“The relationship with the woman is a mad desire, because it is the ‘dark continent’. It remains in the shadows of our culture; it is its night and its hell” p.533 - Cixous
Women - gendered passive, men gendered active
The male is active - women passive in the narrative

In the narrative there is literally a ‘dark continent’ where the mother should be- an absence, a mother figure who revels in silence
If Carter seeks to create more space for women why she does this? Perhaps silence is the most powerful form of not just symbolising the absence of a mother figure in the character’s life - but the absence of women in literature/culture, men are the sole creators, represented in Uncle Philip’s patriarchal control
Cixious takes us to the root of biology - the bond between mother/child is cut and the mark (the navel) is replaced with the name - and of course the father’s last name
By having fathers as the sole Creators women are...


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