This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Monsters, Men and Machines: Gender in Literature and Film, 1942 - 1962




Farmer, Angela

Type of Degree





In the construction of the ideologically abject we see the creation of its manifestation: monstrosity. Just as the Kristevian abject, which is neither subject nor object, is my starting point, the Deleuzian --Y´Desiring Machine¡ is my concluding position (Powers of Horror; Anti-Oedipus). I show that, in fictional texts, it is through an ever-reproducing collective of desiring machines that ideology is spread. The scripted language of film creates the allusion of subjectivity, a mise-en-scene which repudiates the stability of the Oedipal triad: mother-child-father. Such refutation of presumed systems eschews normalization; however, due to the very performative nature of film, Hollywood is able to call attention to the manufacture of normalization while simultaneously appropriating the appearance of accepted Oedipal desire. In other words, fiction, by nature, pretends to be reality; because it is through language that subjectivity is negotiated and all possibility of an existential reality is removed from the subject. And because the language of fiction is a scripted appropriation of fantasy, fiction (especially visual fiction) is able to represent fantasmatic desire as real. In the chapters that follow, I will discuss the breakdown between fictive truth and epistemological truth. The appearance of masculinity which conforms to hegemonic expectations (or ´hegemonic masculinity¡) in fiction can be seen as just that -- fiction. Fiction represents the fantastic desires of the culture from which it arises. In the texts that follow, hegemonic masculinity is often performed in a way that betrays itself as a fiction; when cast in the light of satire, parody, and ironic representation, masculinity can be seen as nothing more than a correspondent to Lacan’s feminine masquerade or the façade of phallic femininity.