I am still in awe at how such a small body of a female, of course comparing it to that of a male’s body, can carry another human being for nine months. How such an eventful time in a woman’s life can happen, the ability to bring forth another life from a body – a miracle indeed. However, one thing is always certain and is bound to happen, all life forms come to an end whether we like it or not.
That is not the case for Grace though, after experiencing an accident, Madeline, the mother, manage to be saved while her husband died. Madeline expected her unborn child to be dead. Refusing to undergo medical procedures to remove the dead unborn child from her body, exposing her to a potential death, she chose to have her baby in the “right” time and with a midwife. Finally, her time arrived, ready to deliver her dead baby, only to find out that she came out alive thus the name Grace, a blessing if that is what she is. Everything was well, the baby was alive and kicking until abnormal signs started to come out – Grace attracted flies, weird scents were coming out, and was furiously craving for human blood. All these were ignored by Madeline all in the name of keeping her baby healthy.
Following Creed’s definition of a monstrous-female where she mentions that the mother-child relationship is marked by conflict: the child struggles to break away and the mother is reluctant to release it, Madeline in this case lives it out since she refuses to let go of her baby. Her baby died in an accident, but the longing for her to be a mother was strengthened when Grace ‘miraculously’ lived. Since she did not let go of her child, the child now being a living dead, is draining the life out of Madeline – a path towards death where Grace seemingly dodged it and is now living comfortably in exchange for her mother’s health. I don’t know whether to be amazed at how much mothers sacrifice or how sad it is for the mother not to let go her dead baby.
Another point from Creed’s article is very striking wherein she says that mother’s retain their close hold with their child to validate their existence in the world. Since Madeline’s husband is gone, her only reason to live is to take care of her child – to which her husband’s genes are passed on. I think this is the closest that she’ll ever be, after losing her husband to an accident, towards a ‘happy’ life. This is further seen in several scenes where she is existing to her in laws only because Madeline has their grandchild, a blessing where their son can call his own too.
After all the horrific scenes where blood and exposed body parts, I think the movie comments on how much mothers would do anything for their child. Apart from Madeline’s over the top effort to keep her baby healthy, Vivian, the mother in law, is also portrayed as someone who would do anything to validate her existence. She would pay a doctor just to prove that Madeline is neglecting the child in hopes of getting custody. Little did they know, aside from the effort that is needed to nurture a child, who knows what more is needed to keep a ‘living’ dead baby?
Creed, Barbara. “Horror and the Monstrous-Feminine: An Imaginary Abjection.” Horror, the film reader. Ed. Jancovich, M. London: Routledge, 2002. Print.