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Mothering Desires in LeFanu’s “Carmilla”

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  1. Introduction
  2. William Veeder's essay Carmilla: The Art of Repression
  3. The character of Carmilla
  4. Laura's conflicting and confusing emotions
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works cited

William Veeder's essay ?Carmilla: The Arts of Repression?, claims that LeFanu's ?Carmilla? attempts to explain the two-sided nature of human life through what he describes as ?dualisms.? He says that humans attempt to find the side of these dualisms they wish to identify with, while pushing away the opposing view. This pushing away is dubbed ?repression.? He asserts that this repression is caused by isolation, and Veeder identifies the most important of these isolations Laura's separation from women, specifically her mother: ?Laura craves the mother whom death has denied her? (206). However, while Laura desires Carmilla to fill the void of her mother's absence, Carmilla consciously manipulates those feelings to have Laura become her next victim. To do so, Carmilla must first organize a ?plan of attack?, which begins with an information gathering stage.

[...] While engaging in an act of sexuality, Carmilla is aware that her method of attack will segue into a sexual situation where she can prey upon Laura. For Carmilla to feed on her victims, no one must see her, and to assail her victims in the bedroom can elicit sexual overtones if they become aware of what is happening. Laura flip-flops between being intrigued by Carmilla's advances and being disgusted by them: experienced a strange tumultuous excitement that was pleasurable, ever and anon, mingled with a vague sense of fear and disgust? (LeFanu 14). [...]


[...] Mothering Desires in LeFanu's ?Carmilla? William Veeder's essay ?Carmilla: The Arts of Repression?, claims that LeFanu's ?Carmilla? attempts to explain the two-sided nature of human life through what he describes as ?dualisms.? He says that humans attempt to find the side of these dualisms they wish to identify with, while pushing away the opposing view. This pushing away is dubbed ?repression.? He asserts that this repression is caused by isolation, and Veeder identifies the most important of these isolations Laura's separation from women, specifically her mother: ?Laura craves the mother whom death has denied (206). [...]

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