In 1950 being a member of the LGBTQ community was difficult and there were pressures to either stay in the closet and be discrete or to conform to the world around them. Many felt that the only safe space they had was found within the theatre and plays that may or may not have hints of being about them. Bell, Book and Candle by John Van Druten is a perfect example of one of those coded plays. It is easy to see that the main protagonist Gill (a witch in New York City) and subsequently her family could be examined and analyzed as part of the LGBTQ+ community and show the struggles that they face because of that in Mid-century America. With the use of coding and gender stereotypes through the feminist lens, Bell Book and Candle by John Van Druten shows the pressures on LGBTQ+ people to either stay closeted or conform to heterosexual cisgender norms.
Bell, Book and Candle and Lesbians
Trask, Phoeby L (2019). Bell, Book and Candle and Lesbians: A Look into LGBTQ+ Lives Through the Work of John Van Druten. Excellence in Performing Arts Research Vol. 6 doi: 10.21038/epar.2020.0002. Retrieved from https://oaks.kent.edu/epar/vol6/iss1/bell-book-and-candle-and-lesbians-look-lgbtq-lives-through-work-john-van-druten
This paper won the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research, 2018-19.