Content Category

Literary Criticism

Abstract/Description

Because both James Joyce and D. H. Lawrence found themselves caught in the trap of a war torn world, new sexuality, the Nietzschean death of God and Religion, and a mass reading public audience being fed the stuff of consumerism, their short stories “Tickets, Please” and “Clay” deal with these shifts occultly in carefully selected symbols, and for Joyce, in puns. Ironically, they discovered this coping mechanism embedded symbolically in the Occult itself and in a Christianity reborn of the blood of sexuality—and for Joyce, drunken Christ figures. In this vein of discovery “Mary Magdalene’s Key, The Witch, and the Parted Wardrobe: Female Sexuality and the Occult in Joyce’s ‘Clay’ and Lawrence’s ‘Tickets, Please’” explores how both Joyce and Lawrence use Mary Magdalene figures (Annie Stone from “Tickets, Please” and Maria from “Clay”) to subvert the established authority of men and discover power over fallen Christ figures. This argument is based in a conversation assuming that both Joyce and Lawrence were responding to similar forces at play in post-Victorian society from parallel but dissimilar angles. Lawrence felt threatened and perhaps fearfully excited by the hypothesis of a society dominated by empowered women and portrays them as tending towards bouts of vengeful sadism followed by inevitable weakness and failure. Joyce, more amused and driven by his own sexual desires than Lawrence, was more ambivalent in his portrayal of women as necessarily empowered, but witch-like in their inability to rise above hegemony conventionally.

Origin of Submission

as part of a class

Faculty Involvement

Jarica Watts

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Mary Magdalene’s Key, The Witch, and the Parted Wardrobe Female Sexuality and the Occult in Joyce’s “Clay” and Lawrence’s “Tickets, Please”

Because both James Joyce and D. H. Lawrence found themselves caught in the trap of a war torn world, new sexuality, the Nietzschean death of God and Religion, and a mass reading public audience being fed the stuff of consumerism, their short stories “Tickets, Please” and “Clay” deal with these shifts occultly in carefully selected symbols, and for Joyce, in puns. Ironically, they discovered this coping mechanism embedded symbolically in the Occult itself and in a Christianity reborn of the blood of sexuality—and for Joyce, drunken Christ figures. In this vein of discovery “Mary Magdalene’s Key, The Witch, and the Parted Wardrobe: Female Sexuality and the Occult in Joyce’s ‘Clay’ and Lawrence’s ‘Tickets, Please’” explores how both Joyce and Lawrence use Mary Magdalene figures (Annie Stone from “Tickets, Please” and Maria from “Clay”) to subvert the established authority of men and discover power over fallen Christ figures. This argument is based in a conversation assuming that both Joyce and Lawrence were responding to similar forces at play in post-Victorian society from parallel but dissimilar angles. Lawrence felt threatened and perhaps fearfully excited by the hypothesis of a society dominated by empowered women and portrays them as tending towards bouts of vengeful sadism followed by inevitable weakness and failure. Joyce, more amused and driven by his own sexual desires than Lawrence, was more ambivalent in his portrayal of women as necessarily empowered, but witch-like in their inability to rise above hegemony conventionally.