This paper was originally prepared in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an MA degree in contemporary English literatures from Leeds Metropolitan University. The work is heavily focused on supernatural elements in the relevant texts examined here, with an emphasis on the female supernatural being and her evolution in both literature and film. Psychoanalytic examination and a close analysis of the relationships between supernatural elements and the current social scenario, are used to provide a few possible explanations for both the purpose and need for the changing role of the female supernatural being in contemporary fiction.
One example is the analysis of the eponymous and possibly spectral character in Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Whilst the treatment of race and racism has been studied by a number of critics, this paper is an attempt to bring focus on the portrayal of the feminine and masculine, mother–daughter duality and the fading boundaries between past and present through a feminine form. Other works examined in this paper include Kim Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking, Stephen King’s Carrie and the films The Exorcist and An American Haunting.
This paper is in no way a complete and a thorough study of the female supernatural in contemporary fiction. It is an attempt to study and speculate on the female occult in the selected texts and films, with the aim of providing a few ideas on the purpose behind the changing roles and image of a popular group of fictional characters.
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