The dilemma of the gaze in Angela Carter's Nights at the Circus and Elif Şafak's Mahrem (The Gaze)

Pirinçci, Yıldız Sinem
This thesis analyzes and compares Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus and Elif Şafak’s Mahrem (The Gaze) from the perspective of theories of the patriarchal gaze. The study argues that the female protagonists in Nights at the Circus and Mahrem (The Gaze) have a dilemma in relation to the gaze. On the one hand, the gaze makes these characters passive spectacles in front of the audience and objectifies them. On the other hand, the gaze appears to be a necessity for a sense of identity and order. The theoretical framework used to analyze the novels from the perspective of the patriarchal gaze includes John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, which is about visual representations in Western art and Laura Mulvey’s article “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, which analyzes women’s position in Hollywood movies. In order to explore the dilemma the protagonists find themselves in, on the other hand, Sigmund Freud’s theory of scopophilia, Jacques Lacan’s discussion of the role of the gaze in psychosexual development and identity formation and Michél Foucault’s evaluation of the gaze as a tool for discipline have been made use of. The comparative analysis of the two novels within this theoretical framework aims to demonstrate the complexity and universality of the issue and provide further food for thought for feminist thinking on this topic.
Citation Formats
Y. S. Pirinçci, “The dilemma of the gaze in Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus and Elif Şafak’s Mahrem (The Gaze),” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2011.