Meditation over Alienation: The Rewriting of Southern Myths in Elizabeth Madox Roberts’ “The Sacrifice of the Maidens” - Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2014

Meditation over Alienation: The Rewriting of Southern Myths in Elizabeth Madox Roberts’ “The Sacrifice of the Maidens”

Gisèle Sigal

Abstract

Among Elizabeth Madox Roberts’ two volumes of short stories, The Haunted Mirror clearly embodies the poet and novelist’s skilful use of symbolism and allegory to meditate on her native Kentucky homeland. Roberts writes mostly of simple and earthy people whose habitat is the South and her prose is suffused with inner – more than outer – reality. Published in 1932, the collection includes several short stories, among which “The Sacrifice of the Maidens”, where the yearning for a pastoral time – a metaphorical Garden of Eden – intertwines with the present strain. Pervaded with nostalgia and ordeal, the story recounts young Anne Barbour’s becoming a nun of the Dominican order. Felix, her teenage brother and a member of the congregation witnesses the religious service where his sister and other attractive young girls are eventually given new religious names. The ceremony is presented mainly from his point of view and his conflicting emotions tumble out regarding Anne’s decision. “The Sacrifice of the Maidens” distils and isolates the essence of drama and trauma, also representative of the myth of the South where romantic influences, codes of honor and medieval chivalry abide. How could the marriage to God be both opposed to and juxtaposed with a longing for the past? How do underlying Southern Myths make their mark and impose themselves on the reader’s mind? In order to address those questions, this paper will focus on dispossession and resolution, harmony and discord as Southern myths eventually stem out of a doomed emotional experience to provide order.
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hal-02326859 , version 1 (22-10-2019)

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  • HAL Id : hal-02326859 , version 1

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Gisèle Sigal. Meditation over Alienation: The Rewriting of Southern Myths in Elizabeth Madox Roberts’ “The Sacrifice of the Maidens”. 16th Annual International Elizabeth Madox Roberts Conference, Springfield, Apr 2014, Springfield - Kentucky - St Catharine College, United States. ⟨hal-02326859⟩

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