Parallels and Differences between Victorian Gothic Literature and Contemporary Medi

Essay by motubufoCollege, UndergraduateA, May 2008

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The themes of gender and sexuality in Victorian gothic literature echoed the public's uneasy views towards those who deviated from the strict norms associated with these themes. The supposed role of gothic writers, as is true for any group of writers part of a movement in any era of written history, was to comment on the morality of the era's social predicaments. Although the passage of time has naturally changed the views we hold now from people living more than one hundred years ago, social commentary on gender and sexuality remains an ever present theme in media. Victorian gothic writers dissected the natural sexual and gender roles of men and women. They either criminalized or sympathized with the sexual outcasts, portraying their deviant attributes as repulsive or lamentable. The shift in opinion from Victorian times to present day can be seen in the movie Boys Don't Cry. It contains all the familiar characters of gothic literature, but the themes of gender and sexuality are propagated through a modern lens.

Boys don't cry presents a reversal of the Victorian trademark of censuring sexual and gender associated transgressions; the chimerical monster of a woman is no longer seen as the corrupt enemy, but a victim of undue repression.

The protagonist, Brandon Teena, born Teena Brandon, is an anatomical female but a self-identifying male. The start of the movie marks his coming out as a man. He has his brother crop his hair short and he dons an all masculine appearance. The Lincoln town's people know Brandon as both a sexual and criminal deviant. There, he cannot find the acceptance he seeks. Fate brings him to Falls City, Nebraska where he befriends a group of people unaware of his past deeds or his secret. The men of the group accept him...