This paper employs EcoGothic theories and ecofeminist criticism to explore the similarities between Ambrose Bierce’s 1897 story “The Eyes of the Panther” and Lauren Groff’s 2016 story “The Midnight Zone.” Both stories place women in isolated wilderness spaces to probe the boundaries between nature and culture and to condemn human destruction of the nonhuman world. The stories also include Gothic tropes of entrapment and psychological trauma to expose restrictive cultural ideals that constrain women into passive roles. In Bierce’s and Groff’s respective stories, the female characters’ trauma-induced transformation into panther form allows them to challenge the interconnected subjugation of women and the nonhuman world. While each story undermines these destructive ideologies, only “The Midnight Zone” suggests a more positive alternative. The woman in Bierce’s story is killed by a hunter, but the narrator of Groff’s story survives and retains her panther-like qualities. Her survival suggests an ideology based not on the domination of nature and women but on the generative possibilities of challenging boundaries.

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