Surrogate mothers, surrogate mistresses, and surrogate memories : a comparative study of the re-presentation of the feminine possessed in “The Bear” by William Faulkner and Borderline by Janette Turner Hospital
The thesis aims to investigate the feminine surrogates in the worlds of Ike McCaslin (“The Bear”) and Jean-Marc Seymour (Borderline). Thematically speaking, the main problems facing the protagonists of ”The Bear” and Borderline revolve around their constant struggle for self-definition. The lack of strong mother figures in childhood creates obvious and deep problems for both protagonists’ attempts to construct a self, a foundation from which to interpret their surroundings. They hence construct a “surrogate mother”, in Ike’s case the wilderness and in Jean-Marc’s case Felicity. Once the “mother” turns into someone sexual (“the surrogate mistress”), the protagonists – connecting sexuality with something corrupted and evil their forefathers engaged in – are completely bewildered by their own sexual reactions. Their need to kill their erotic urges is unmistakably intertwined with their praise of the spiritual over the physical. Both protagonists thus turn their surrogate mothers/mistresses into a transcendental memory (“the surrogate memory”) that becomes a surrogate for assuming responsibility for their present lives. Theoretically speaking, the aspects explored in this thesis are those of narratology (specifically the part of the intrusive and unreliable narrator and the discrepancy between focalizer and narrator, and between narrator and implied author) and (post)colonial theory (specifically the masculine colonial impulse to control and conquer that the protagonists ironically claim to distance themselves from).
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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