Poem Helen Elytis Essay Example

Poem Helen Elytis Essay Example

… simply of radical otherness.

Dante Gabriel Rossettis Sister Helen (1854)
presents a challenge to this family resemblance by
subordinating (Smith, Marshall University)1 the femme
fatales sex masquerade to her more defining emasculating
potential. In the end, Helen is fatal to Keith of Ewern not
because she consumes him sexually but because he
endeavours to resist. More significant than the fact of
Helens nuptial curse upon Keith and his bride, however, is
the question Helens brother poses at the beginning of the
poem, for it is the Ur-question that confronts any feminism
willing to use gender to subversive ends: Why did you
melt your waxen man, / Sister Helen? Little brothers
question highlights a systematic power reversal rather than
reformation, a transposition ironically embodied in the
popular iconography of the overly caricatured New Woman
some forty years later yet radically challenged in the more
polychromatic, less Amazonian New Woman of the novel
form. How, then, do we distinguish the sex masquerades of
the New Woman from those of the femme fatale? And in
what way might the New Womans erotic authority be
refigured as an enabling rather than disabling misalliance?

Structurally (Smith, Marshall University …

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