Friday, December 30, 2011

THE MADWOMAN IN THE ATTIC: The Faces of Fox



"For outside you have to creep on the ground, and everything is green instead of yellow. But here I can creep smoothly on the floor, and my shoulder just fits in that long smooch around the wall, so I cannot lose my way."
~from The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Ahh.  *The Madwoman in the Attic!
You are either attracted to her or repulsed by her.
I happen to fall into the former category.

I revel in the Madwoman character!

*Madwoman in the Attic is the idea that women writers of the 19th Century were confined in their writing to make their female characters either embody the "angel" or the "monster." This struggle stemmed from male writers' tendencies to see female characters as either pure, angelic women,
 or rebellious, unkempt madwomen. 
(paraphrased from Gilbert & Gubar) 

I have always been fascinated with the history of Bedlam.
I make use of it heavily to create the darker, other side of my characters.
I never, initially, plan it....it just comes about.

Foxmorton, the pirate, is by no means a stable captain......ask her crew.
She is the most well known of my characters.
She transcends eras easily with very little explanation and adapts to the time period.

Violet Lousie Moorfields is, indeed sir, late of Southwark....as she proudly hands over her calling card bearing that information.  Very few people pick up on it.
Her butler, Runcible, generally picks up the broken pieces she leaves strewn in her path.
Violet carries a dolly with a quite large and obvious key hanging from the waist, yet no one ever seems to be able to figure out how she keeps breaking out.
She communicates mainly through the tradition of a journal and has a traceable 300 year ancestry due
to the 'Found Moorfields' Journals'  The Moorfields are cursed never to marry so the name has been retained.  Violet Grace Moorfield's (1500's Violet) mother, Rose, perished when she leaped from London Bridge to 'fly with the faeires.'
Violet is the most extensively developed (and beloved!) of all my characters.
You can read about Victorian Violet's most recent 'escape' here:
http://collagepirate.blogspot.com/2011/09/willow-manner-ball-2011-elegant-cyber.html

BeBe Foxmorton is bat-shite crazy, no doubt.
Though of the twirly-weeee! variety!
A corn dolly seller by trade, she will, with great glee, show you
'Me bloomers what the Queen's son give me!'
Trouble is, in the period that BeBe exists, the Queen has no son.
Few people pick up on this.   Including BeBe.
BeBe has no toe hold in reality.

Henrietta Bunrat (Hatty Bunratty) has fallen into 'genteel poverty'
and is a maker of  chapeaux.  She appears, for all intents and purposes, normal......
except for the fantastical stories and dressed-up goat.

Violca Mirola, the Sea Gypsy, is perhaps the most stable of all my characters.
Teller of tales and fortunes, she rarely displays any questionable behaviour.
Well, one does need an anchor now and again, doesn't one?

My point?
I adore the unstable!  The woman who, no matter her circumstance, has it in her to
go forth with wild abandon.  To excite (and incite!), examine the mysteries of the world, and to do what she damn well pleases.  Whose inner monster is unpredictable and untamed.
  And who will always, always keep you guessing.

I'd make a very, very awful Plain Jane angel.
*********
SOME MADWOMAN LIT

The Yellow Wall Paper by Charolette Perkins Gilman
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Rebecca's Tale by Sally Beauman
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
The Mad Woman in the Attic by Gilbert and Gubar





3 comments:

Merlyn said...

Which is all reason why you adore ME :)

I too, loved the Yellow Wallpaper. I have a piece of it still folded up in my dresser drawer, under my silky things and I fondle it on occasion when I want to turn the room upside down instead. It is strangely satisfying.

Candy C. said...

Sometimes, sometimes the madwoman appears in me but my good Baptist upbringing keeps her in her place! ;-)

Teresa said...

I just love the quote by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, "Well-behaved women rarely make history." You, Miss Mimi, are a history maker!