Monday, April 7, 2008

Infernal Desire Machines and Psychoanalysis

In addition to dream interpretation, I think the focus on sexual desire and phallic images in this book also leaves it open to a psychoanalytic analyisis. I think one of the most obvious applications of this school of thought is the Count. The Count clearly seems to represent the id, or the unbridled sexual desire that humans fight their whole lives to suppress (according to Freud). All the Count cares about is achieving his own desire, no matter the consequence. The most interesting thing about this to me is that there is no specific foil to this character in the book, there is no completely balanced and reasonable person to counteract the desire of the Count.

Also, all the phallic imagery leaves it open to psychoanalytic interpretation. The most striking example of this is when the characters are at the strange masquerade-type party where they wear penis suits. But in this book, Carter seems to mock the sense of power that the penis is meant to represent in most cultures by portraying it in such an over-the-top way, like we were talking about in class with the racial construction of some of the characters.

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