The Velvet Chamber
An Anthology of Revisioned Myth and Fairy Tale

Explore the dark side of the female psyche --A CALL FOR WRITERS supports The Velvet Chamber

Monday, June 28, 2010

Consider the fate of Emma Bovary

We are supposed to be happy when we fall in love, and to never want anything more in life. This has been the archetypal pattern created for us. The women who read romances want to be reassured in the choices they’ve made; they do not want the form subverted, they do not want to question the plot. But feminist authors do question it, and by doing so, question cultural assumptions that inform the genre.

Falling into a fantasy, whether it takes place in a tall castle in a remote and faraway land or a small Midwestern town, the set pieces of traditional romance and fantasy never vary. The protagonists stay at home, perhaps never even aware they are constrained. Women have been raised with this plot. What else is beyond it? We are taught that to transgress these boundaries leads to madness and or death. Consider the fate of Emma Bovary.


  1. This is a trope that I've let myself be tangled in a number of times. I have what appears to many the perfect situation. Why can't I be happy? And of course I should be punished for not being content with it. I've written about this. It remains locked up on my hard drive.

  2. Perhaps its time to unlock the hard drive!