The joy of a Gothic fable: form, didacticism, and 'happy-ness' in Sonya Hartnett's The Ghost's Child and Jennifer Kent's The Babadook

Craven, Allison (2020) The joy of a Gothic fable: form, didacticism, and 'happy-ness' in Sonya Hartnett's The Ghost's Child and Jennifer Kent's The Babadook. Aeternum: The Journal of Contemporary Gothic Studies, 7 (1). pp. 1-16.

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Abstract

In this article, the novel The Ghost’s Child and the film The Babadook are discussed as extended fables in which the didacticism of the fable form is expressed in Gothic modes. While the Gothic is traditionally associated with disturbance, despair and fragmentation of identity, these works are striking for the joyful key in which they conclude and the optimistic messages that accompany the resolutions. Both are therefore related to Catherine Spooner’s (2017) concept of post-millennial “happy Gothic” which offers an alternative to the traditional view of Gothic. The happy-ness of these works is anchored in the fable form of the narratives, and examination of the form contributes to Spooner’s allied project to examine both what Gothic “is” and what it “does”. The happy-ness of these fables also inflects their connection to domestic traditions of Australian Gothic and the wider Gothic influences they exhibit. These are traced in the range of Sonya Hartnett’s uses of Gothic in her personal oeuvre, and the traces in The Babadook from European art film and the paranoid woman’s film of the mid-twentieth century.

Item ID: 63817
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2324-4895
Keywords: Fable, Happy Gothic, Australian Gothic, Didactic, Grief, Miscarriage
Copyright Information: © June 2020. This article is Open Access via the publisher's website.
Funders: Colin and Margaret Roderick
Projects and Grants: Roderick Scholar
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2020 05:18
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200502 Australian Literature (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature) @ 50%
19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media > 190201 Cinema Studies @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 60%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing @ 40%
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