Joanne Watkiss
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Violent households
The family destabilized in The Monk (1796), Zofloya, or the Moor (1818), and Her Fearful Symmetry (2009)
in Gothic kinship
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Chapter 9 aligns anxieties regarding family lineage in Audrey Niffenegger’s Her Fearful Symmetry (2009) with similar anxieties in classic Gothic texts such as The Monk and Zofloya, or the Moor. Watkiss shows how the familiar, the linear and the domestic are revealed to be fragile constructions. Events do not proceed as they should; these are families that are ‘out of joint’, redundant in their ability to sustain themselves and future generations. In addition, qualities aligned with the institution of the family such as the familiar, the domestic and the homely are exposed as unstable foundations. Unlike early Gothic texts such as The Monk and Zofloya, or the Moor, whose Gothic families are denied lineage, Her Fearful Symmetry allows the Gothic family to continue through the non-linear; a perverse rendering of familial relations that accumulates three generations into one body.

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