The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Magic and Feminism
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Table of Contents
That Neil Gaiman is a writer with strong feminist sensibilities has been frequently pointed out by scholars interested in his work. In 2012, editors Tara Prescott and Aaron Drucker even published an entire and insightful collection Feminism in the Worlds of Neil Gaiman: Essays on the Comics, Poetry and Prose to this effect. This essay continues Drucker’s and Prescott’s approach and examines the feminist potential of Gaiman’s latest novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
Published in 2013, the novel promptly topped bestseller lists and became a critical darling. Gaiman’s latest offering is very specific in what kind of feminism it promotes and takes up the often discarded notion of ecofeminism and renders it literal within the confines of the novel’s fantasy setting. By connecting ecofeminism and magical maternities, Gaiman seems to advocate a benign and powerful maternalism as ideal femininity. However, due to the complex and overt constructedness of gender roles within the novel, the text simultaneously functions as a meta-commentary on the performance of gender.
In numerous interviews, Gaiman has explained that The Ocean at the End of the Lane was written to tell his wife Amanda Palmer, to whom it is dedicated, about the author’s childhood (see Campbell ...