By Karen Coats
This examine introduces and explores Lacan's advanced theories of subjectivity and hope via shut readings of cananical kid's books akin to Charlotte's internet, Stellaluna, Holes, Tangerine and The Chocolate warfare.
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Extra resources for Looking Glasses and Neverlands: Lacan, Desire, and Subjectivity in Children's Literature
And since we have seen how interconnected his life is with her coming into being as a subject, we can also posit that the entire story of Charlotte and her web is Fern’s attempt to save herself. As long as she (and Wilbur) are not full subjects, they are under threat. The Imaginary is a wonderful place to visit, but the child subject mustn’t continue to live there. At the same time, the sense of loss that would be generated by the death of Wilbur as Fern’s Imaginary other would be too traumatic.
Zuckerman is here represented as actively repressing the possibility of a performative subjectivity, as well as the role of the Other in that performance. Considering his role as the Name of the Father, this move on his part is uniquely appropriate, in that it is part of his function in a patriarchal economy to delimit the possibilities of being, just as Mr. Arable decided who could mother a pig and who could not. A performative subjectivity, on the other hand, implies endless possibilities, constrained only by the unpredictable desire of the mother who channels the desire of the subject in the ﬁrst place.
Lacan begins with a logical problem that involves three prisoners who have a chance of release if they can ﬁgure out the solution to a puzzle set for them by the warden. The warden has ﬁve discs, three white and two black. He fastens one disc to the back of each prisoner; the task is for each prisoner to ﬁgure out what color he is through logical and not merely probabilistic means. Temporal pressure is added because only the ﬁrst prisoner to deduce correctly his position will be released. 1 The subjects in question come to know who a t i m e t o m o u r n | 39 they are (that is, what color the disc on their back is) through three logical moments.