Fantasy and the supernatural are everyday expressions of the imaginative experiences of Malaysian and Singaporean women writers who use the Gothic to explore and expose the contradictions within their societies, constraints upon peoples lives, and most specifically, womens roles. In tales of wealthy families and their bondmaids, growing up, investment, education, marriages, the supernatural and fantasy run everywhere alongside realistic factual accounts to critique contradictions, and highlight little ironies, some of which have been generated by or supported by the,colonial presence, and some of which emanate from their own cultural traditions. Many cultural and individual contradictions are generated by recognition of the need to simultaneously maintain what is valuable in tradition, benefit from what was brought by colonialism, and move on to create new ways of being. Through the gaps and fissures of colonial homes and those of grand Chinese or Malay families leak tales of repression and silencing legitimated by cultural, economic and gendered differences. The repressed return, as they do in all good Gothic tales, to bring cultural and personal discrepancies to the notice of the living.
Wisker argues that Plath‘s domestic Gothic exposes the duplicities of womens roles and the surprising paradoxes of fear and love, Otherness and self in representations of mothering and marriage. Using Freud‘s notion of the ‘uncanny’ Wisker suggests that Plath‘s poems defamiliarise the familiar roles and expectations of womens lives. Above all Plath exposes the dangers of complacency and the losses that come with the acceptance of a limited (patriarchal) worldview.
This chapter considers the queer theory to explore, explicate and celebrate the boundary-breaking refusals and testing of conventions which gay- and lesbian-oriented Gothic horror offers through the figures of the werewolf and vampire. It demonstrates both the terrible price to pay for being different sexually, challenging conventions, and the necessity of those challenges. In addition, it reveals the celebratory excess, carnival and creative potential, the fundamental testing of established norms, possible through queer theory in action in gay- and lesbian-oriented vampire and werewolf tales. The chapter focuses on Melanie Tem's lesbian werewolf tale 'Wilding', and Katherine Forrest's 'O Captain, My Captain'. It also considers lesbian Gothic horror, using queer theory where appropriate, to demonstrate both the dangerous limitations of fixing lesbian identity and the potential for exploration, realisation and enactment of versions of lesbian relationships. These relationships enable flexible becoming and changing of gendered relationships.