Wise Children

It Ain't No Sin: Carter's Response to Freud's Views of Sex

Throughout her body of work, Angela Carter continuously twists and transforms conventional ideas. Whether Carter places a feminist spin on traditional stories or challenges conventional thought by raising questions, her writing reveals innovative insights. Her last novel, Wise Children, is no exception. In this novel, Carter creates the character Dora Chance, who attempts to write her life story as a response to Freud's work Dora, An Analysis of A Case of Hysteria, in which he analyzes the life events of a young girl. Carter plays off of Freud's interpretations of sex as perversion by re-creating situations from Dora Chance's life in Wise Children; in this book, she experiences sexual desire and activities as healthy, enjoyable, profound, and even comedic.

Throughout Freud's Dora, the psychologist emphasizes sex as the root cause of hysteria and neurotic action, and attributes Dora's problems to her exposure to sexual knowledge and sexual experiences. Freud asserts that Dora received much of her knowledge of sexual activity from her childhood governess. Freud describes the governess as "an unmarried woman...who was well read and of advanced views" (29). By "advanced views," Freud means...

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