Prison, Slavery and Other Horrors in The Bondwomans Narrative
Haslam reads The Bondwoman‘s Narrative through the lens of the gothic literary tradition, as framed by Jerrold Hogle, and its relations to slave narratives, as discussed by Teresa Goddu. Specifically, the novel uses the gothic, in part, as slave narratives traditionally do: to depict the brutality and horror of the violence of slavery. But Crafts transforms this use of the gothic into a direct attack on the slave owners themselves. Crafts situates the generalities of the gothic tradition within American slavery, writing a gothic narrative that - to transform Hogle‘s analysis - exposes the ‘brutal concreteness’ of slavery while depicting the ‘pervasively counterfeit existence’ of white superiority.
Queering the Gothic Parody of Arsenic and Old Lace
Frank Capras Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), based on Joseph Kesselrings popular Broadway play, has been largely ignored by critics and Capra-philes. The film is generally perceived of as existing outside of the corpus of Capras other films, such as Its a Wonderful Life, Mr Deeds Goes to Town, and Mr Smith Goes to Washington. As Thomas Schatz states, the feeling about Arsenic is that it is little more than a serving of canned theater, an entertaining and straightforward recreation,of the stage play with virtually none of the style or substance of earlier Capra-directed pictures. Victor Scherle and William Turner Levy note that ‘Capra left the play essentially unchanged and did not embellish it with any special social significance’. In his extensive biography of the director, Joseph McBride goes so far as to state that the filming of Arsenic signals the beginning of a ‘flight from ideas’ which would continue for most of Capras career.