Margaret Oliphant's The Library Window

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Short Analysis: The Library Window Margaret Oliphant’s short gothic novella The Library Window, has spent the vast majority of its shelf life perplexing the minds of literary critics from all venues. The story entails a young woman who spends her summers nuzzled against the large recession window located in her aunt’s drawing room, collecting seemingly elusive details about a mysterious library window located across the street. Throughout the novella, these details and images converge and create an indefinable vision of a scholarly, faceless man who consumes every minute of our young narrators time, and filling every crack and crevice of her psyche with his ambiguous existence. Many critics, such as (blah), describe Oliphant’s novella as…show more content…
Readers are immediately met with the implication that the narrator is not well, though the specifics of her condition are not directly addressed: “whenever we had anything the matter with us in these days, we were sent to St Rules to get up our strength. And this was my case at the time of which I am going to speak” (Oliphant 4). Almost immediately after, the narrator comments on the how outsiders typically view her as fanciful and dreamy, her mother being an adversary of this claim. The text also states that the narrator’s mother disapproved of the narrators reflective time spent within her own mind and contrasts the attitude of her mother with that of the narrator’s aunt: “My mother would not let me do it, I know [spend time alone, unobserved and undisturbed]. She would have remembered dozens of things there were to do […] she liked to keep me running about. Perhaps that was one reason I was so fond of Aunt Mary’s drawing-room…” (Oliphant 4). It is possible, then, that the narrator was sent to her Aunt’s home in order to collect herself and her thoughts in order to realize such deliberate ignorance of “keeping busy” with housework and other sexist, menial tasks is incorrect, and must be addressed; this can be understood as her implied

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