Content Category

Literary Criticism

Abstract/Description

The novel Possession by A.S. Byatt tells of scholars researching the lives of two fictional poets, Randolph Ash and Christabel LaMotte. The story focuses heavily on the ideas of gender, especially the the differences and conflict between men and women. Curiously, the poetry of these fictional characters reference numerous monsters from various mythologies. In Possession, A.S. Byatt uses Norse legends to reflect how men are proactive, destructive, and possessive; through Greek creatures she emphasizes how women are unaggressive, stationary, and vulnerable; and lastly, she uses Eastern beasts like the phoenix to show that both men and women can change and improve.

Origin of Submission

as part of a class

Faculty Involvement

Paul Westover

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Here There Be Dragons: Monsters and Gender in Possession

The novel Possession by A.S. Byatt tells of scholars researching the lives of two fictional poets, Randolph Ash and Christabel LaMotte. The story focuses heavily on the ideas of gender, especially the the differences and conflict between men and women. Curiously, the poetry of these fictional characters reference numerous monsters from various mythologies. In Possession, A.S. Byatt uses Norse legends to reflect how men are proactive, destructive, and possessive; through Greek creatures she emphasizes how women are unaggressive, stationary, and vulnerable; and lastly, she uses Eastern beasts like the phoenix to show that both men and women can change and improve.