The last chapter of Part II explores Rolla Selbak’s Three Veils
(2011). The religious symbol of the veil is analysed as standing
metonymically for the film’s three American Muslim protagonists. The chapter
suggests the film depicts the women’s struggles with familial and societal
expectations about their Muslim femininity, particularly regarding arranged
marriages, rape, domestic violence, and homosexuality. It is argued that the
film’s protagonists struggle with inherited ideas of what constitutes a
‘good Muslim’ and Arab girl, as they find themselves grappling with the
competing ideologies of American liberalism and Muslim traditionalism. The
three girls are constructed as the good, the deviant, and the bad Muslim.
Although Selbak tackles controversial topics regarding the American Muslim
community, it is argued she does so in an attempt at dealing with real
issues assailing Muslim women, yet she depicts an American Muslim community
that is gradually becoming more attune to the plights of women. Amira, the
homosexual Muslim, and Nikki, the queer Muslim, do not end up together, and
Amira becomes a hijab teacher in Jordan, which constitutes Selbak’s
admission that allegiance to faith and community can still impede the free
expression of homosexual desire.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book demonstrates that incest was representative of a range of interests crucial to writers of the Gothic, often women or homosexual men who adopted a critical stance in relation to the heteronormative patriarchal world. Incest, a sexual act associated with transgression, violations of power and violence, has readily been conflated with sexual violence in Gothic scholarship and consigned to one of two gendered plots. Sexuality, questions of ownership, inheritance, women's subjugation to male authority, laws of coverture and primogeniture and issues concerning gender roles pervade Gothic works from the mid-eighteenth century on. The incest thematic as employed by women writers in the early modern period is shown to be transgressively endogamic in Maureen Quilligan's excellent work on incest in Elizabethan England.
There are several problems that usually emerge in scholarship examining representations of father-daughter incest in the Gothic, even in works by scholars whose goal is to lay bare the feminist themes that are central to the genre. Principal among these is that representations of father-daughter incest often cause works to be placed in the gendered subgenre of Female Gothic and to be viewed through a lens predicated on this generic division. This chapter examines the incestuous relationships between fathers and daughters in Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, Ann Radcliffe's The Romance of the Forest and Mary Shelley's Matilda and the texts' attendant scholarship. These three works have been selected in order to compare the way that incest is rendered in a representative chronology of Gothic texts beginning with what has been traditionally defined as the original Gothic novel.