In this essay, I explore how these issues are reworked and deconstructed by Stephen King in his 1992 novel Gerald’s Game. Significantly, in this text, King subverts the triangular structure villain-father-heroine by gradually reversing the female character’s role, as she evolves from a passive, vulnerable victim to an active protagonist of the story. Such a change is possible only through her confronting and overcoming the “buried, ominous secret”: a traumatic event of sexual abuse which she experienced in her childhood. I demonstrate that the issues of vulnerability and trauma are central to a feminist reworking in a contemporary key of traditional Gothic-horror tropes, themes and characterisation.
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