The Great Oppressor: A Queer Analysis of Fear and of Silence in Carmen Maria Machado’s “The Husband Stitch” and Margaret Atwood’s “Bluebeard’s Egg”
In “To Spin a Yarn: The Female Voice in Folklore and Fairy Tale,” Karen Rowe argues that folk and fairy tales are an art distinctly female in nature. She shows how women in folk and fairy tales manage to tell their stories despite often forcible silencing. This paper presentation extends and complicates Rowe’s claims by examining the arguably silent, but nonetheless palpable queer themes in two contemporary folktales, appropriated by women in written form: “The Husband Stitch” by Carmen Maria Machado and “Bluebeard’s Egg” by Margaret Atwood. Machado and Atwood weave shared themes relevant to female survival and resistance under patriarchy within their tales, while illuminating persistent efforts of silencing by hegemonies—particularly those enjoyed by men. Further, both stories differently explore fear as the force deployed to keep women "in line." This project is framed through the ideas of theorists Cathy J. Cohen and Michel Foucault and explores the queer nature of the main characters' secrets and the consequences of the pressures of and deviation from the “silent spinner” archetype suggested by Rowe.
"The Great Oppressor: A Queer Analysis of Fear and of Silence in Carmen Maria Machado’s “The Husband Stitch” and Margaret Atwood’s “Bluebeard’s Egg”,"
OSR Journal of Student Research: Vol. 5
, Article 178.
Available at: https://scholarworks.lib.csusb.edu/osr/vol5/iss1/178