Prof. Westengard | O628 | Fall 2022

Savara Khan


To my understanding when Haggerty writes “normative … configurations of human interaction” he is talking about one's behavior and how one should only live by the approved rules. One instance in which these configurations are challenged in Otranto is when Isabella the princess and the daughter of Frederic, the Marquis of Vincenza, ran away. She was in fear for her life. When Manfred tries to rape her, Isabella defends her virtue by escaping the castle with Theodore's help.

Later, Haggerty claims that Walpole “combines the sexual anxiety of a victimized female, the incestuous desire of a libidinous male, the use of the actual physical features of the castle to represent political and sexual entrapment, and an atmosphere deftly rendered to produce terror and gloom” (Haggerty 22). One specific passage in The Castle of Otranto embodies some of the characteristics he lists in this quote. “Alas, my Lord!” said Isabella, “my mind is too sadly engrossed by the recent catastrophe in your family to think of another marriage. If ever my father returns, and it shall be his pleasure, I shall obey, as I did when I consented to give my hand to your son: but until his return, permit me to remain under your hospitable roof, and employ the melancholy hours in assuaging yours, Hippolita’s, and the fair Matilda’s affliction. I desired you once before,” said Manfred angrily,” (page 31) In this part Manfred is telling Isabella that he wants to marry her and being admin about it. He shows dominance, power, and anger toward her as she tries to deny the offer.

The physical features of a castle represent political and sexual entrapment because a castle symbolizes strength, power, and wealth which means anyone that doesn't live in the castle and is not part of the royal family is lower class. A castle is big enough to entrap anyone that comes in and with all that power the rulers have no one could come and free them. In the movie Coraline, she discovers a secret passage to a parallel world. In that world, she meets an evil "Other Mother", who she has to fight to protect her real family. In the parallel world, it is like a dark universe in the beginning it was everything Coraline wanted. At a point, she wanted to stay there forever. but when she came to her senses she realized that there was nothing but darkness there. When she gets trapped, she is alone and has to figure out how to get out and go back home.

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1 Comment

  1. Erika Gissel Naranjo

    Hi Savara,

    I agree with what you are saying here. I also believe Haggerty was referring to the “approved rules” we are supposed to live by as a society. Reading about the subject of rape was especially hard since it has become so common amongst our sick society.

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