Adolescence and the Trauma of Maternal Inheritance in L.M. Montgomery's <em>Emily of New Moon</em>

  • Kate Lawson

Abstract

Résumé: Le roman Émilie de la nouvelle lune (1923) de Lucy Maud Montgomery est un roman d'apprentissage fort complexe, centré autour du difficile passage de l'enfance à l'adolescence de l'héroïne eponyme. Après la perte de son père, Émilie doit s'adapter à un nouveau contexte social, des plus conformistes. À l'univers répressif de ses tantes s'oppose le caractère ouvert et volontiers rebelle de son héritage maternel. L'issue du conflit, ambivalent et quelque peu empreint, dans son expression littéraire, de l'imagerie des romans gothiques, permettra à l'héroïne, du moins en apparence, de surmonter le traumatisme de la maturation sexuelle et d'assumer son identité. Summary: L.M. Montgomery's Emily of New Moon (1923) is a Canadian Bildungsroman which begins with the death of the heroine Emily's mother, a death which precipitates Emily's entry into a female-dominated world of familial, social and sexual conformity. The paper first examines the overall structure of gender relations in the novel, and then explores the novel's overdetermined figuration of Emily's preadolescent body as it moves towards sexual maturity, in particular, Emily's body as inheriting a sexually rebellious maternal lineage which counteracts the repressive matriarchal power of aunts and family. In Emily's Gothicized and hallucinated "solution" to the dark and secret story of a rebellious woman's sexual excess, Emily seemingly solves the "riddle" of adult female sexuality and resolves the trauma of sexual maturity.
Published
1999-03-01
Section
Articles