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Lost children and imaginary mothers in Sonya Hartnett's Of A Boy

Muller, Vivienne (2010) Lost children and imaginary mothers in Sonya Hartnett's Of A Boy. In Kelso, Julie & Porter, Marie (Eds.) Mother-Texts : Narratives and Counter-Narratives. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 1-18.

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Abstract

In Powers of Horror, Julia Kristeva writes about lost children. These are what she calls “dejects,” who, in the psychodrama of subject formation, fail to fully absent the body of the mother, to accept the Law of the Father and the Symbolic, and subsequently to establish “clear boundaries which constitute the object-world for normal subjects.” Dejects are “strays” looking for a place to belong, a place that is bound up with the Imaginary mother of the pre-Oedipal period. Kristeva’s sketch of the deject as one who is unable to negotiate a proper path to the Symbolicis useful to a reading of Hartnett’s Of A Boy (2002),a novel that also deals with lost children and imaginary mothers. However, in its portrayal of children who are doomed to never achieve adulthood, Of A Boy enacts a haunting retrieval of the pre-Oedipal from the dark side of phallocentric representation, privileging the semiotic (Kristeva’s concept) and the maternal as necessary disruptive checks on a patriarchal Symbolic Order.

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ID Code: 39738
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Psychoanalysis, Kristeva, children, dejects, Harnett
ISBN: 9781443823326
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > LITERARY STUDIES (200500)
Divisions: Current > Schools > Creative Writing & Literary Studies
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Deposited On: 31 Jan 2011 09:20
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 00:30

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