Thesis Info

Thesis Title
The Representation of the Monstrous Feminine in the Selected Works of C.S. Lewis, Roald Dahl and Philip Pullman (PhD thesis module 2.1)
Wing Bo TSO
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
The University of Birmingham
Thesis Supervisor
Dr. Murray Knowles
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Dr. Carmen Rosa Caldas-Coulthard
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies
Languages Familiar to Author
English, Chinese
URL where full thesis can be found
Abject, monstrous feminine, mythology, children's fantasy
Abstract: 200-500 words
With reference to Kristeva’s Theory on Abjection and Creed’s discussion about the monstrous feminine, in this research, I examine the representations of female antagonists in three popular children’s books – C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books, Roald Dahl’s The Witches (1983), as well as Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass (2000). It is found that in the Narnia series and Dahl’s book, a similar reductive, repressive pattern recurs in the representations of the female antagonists. As reflected in the plot and the choice of vocabulary, both Jadis in the Narnia series and the witches in The Witches (1983) are represented as the nameless abject that blurs the line of demarcation between life and death, human and non-human, masculine and feminine. At the end of both books, the monstrous feminine is ejected, erased, and the ‘purification’ brings relief and a vengeful pleasure. The harpies in Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass (2000), however, are a re-version, instead of a perpetuation of the monstrous feminine stereotype. Under the rewriting of Pullman, the harpies are honoured as the “Gracious Wings” and “the saviour of all, generous one”. The monstrous feminine regains its long-lost power in the matriarchal period in human history.