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|Title:||The Desire to Feed or the Desire to Be Fed?|
Department of English, NTNU
|Abstract:||The question as to whether Leopold Bloom, for all his gentleness and generosity, tends to have a biased conception of "woman" is a controversial one. Instead of charging Bloom with politically incorrect gender assumptions, this paper will argue that Bloom does not see all women through a distortional speculum. Woman's role as a mother, for one thing, is far from being the target of Bloom's disparagement. What significance does Bloom envisage in the maternal figure that prompts him to exempt the mother from the category of the threatening other? Seeking to penetrate into Bloom's complicated relation with the maternal figure, this paper first sketches how Bloom shows his sympathy towards women whenever they are thought of as caretakers or murderers. I proceed to argue that his eagerness to identify with the mother can hardly escape our attention if we track Bloom's desire to feed. Reading Bloom's desire to feed from a psychoanalytic perspective, I demonstrate how this desire is entangled with womb envy and how Bloom's own fantasy of becoming a mother can help him handle the trauma of losing his son. Further, I contend that Bloom's identification with the mother is vindicated by his desire to be fed as well. The desire reveals Bloom's underlying wish to be impregnated by the mother and thereby become a mother himself. I also suggest that the desire to be fed is related to Bloom's wish to be desired by the mother. The fantasy of being desired by the mother, to a certain extent, consolidates his identification with the lost son and thus makes possible the reunion with his wife Molly. Analyzing Bloom's entangled relation with the maternal figure, this paper is intended to counter psychoanalytic studies which, due to their excessive stress on the role of the father, lose sight of the importance the mother plays in subject formation.|
|Appears in Collections:||Concentric: Studies in English Literature and Linguistics|
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