"The Monster and the Maternal Thing"
- Explain: Psychoanalytic theory "can at once
decipher the significance of the uncanny and clarify the
relation between the construction of desire and of modern
society, primarily because it conceives of society as the
product of a collective fantasy, as a psychoanalytic construct
in its own right" (323-24).
- How does the "domain of rivalry" between Victor and his
creature resemble Lacan's Imaginary order (324)?
- How, according to Collings, is Victor's solitude "oedipal"
- Explain: "The son gives up the physical mother and
desires a figurative representation of her, a substitute for
her in the realm of language or social relations" (325).
- How is Caroline's death "highly appropriate" (325)?
- Explain: "In effect, all women are for [Victor] the dead
- Explain: "The turn from erotic ideal to grotesque
body horrifies Victor, and in this respect he is a
responsible citizen of the Symbolic realm, longing for
Elizabeth rather than the mother"(326).
- How, according to Collings, do windows represent mirrors
in Frankenstein ?
- Explain: "The unified self is a fiction" (328).
- Explain: "To become a subject, one must lose an element
of the subject forever" (329).
- Explain: "If Victor creates the monster in order to
revolt against the Symbolic, the monster protests against
being excluded from it" (332).
- Explain: "If Safie represents woman as she is
accepted into language and the family, the monster embodies
woman as she is excluded from the world of images and words"
- In what way is the monster "a figure for what Lacan calls jouissance"
- Explain: "He is thus a figure of monstrous enjoyment only
in the eyes of others, just as he is the maternal Thing not to
himself but others" (335).
- Explain: "The creature reveals the general structure of
ideological projection per se, the abstract category by virtue
of which ideology can operate" (337).
Other Discussion Questions:
- Explain: "Victor circuments normative sexuality with a
sexuality of the Imaginary in which the child can re-create
the dead mother in a prelinguistic, visual mode" (327).
- Explain: "Literary creation is for [Shelley] a form of
- Explain: "What precedes language must in some way also
precede the ego itself" (328).
- Explain: "We can only recognize ourselves in an image
that in fact fails to depict us" (329).
- Explain: "The novel suggests that the symbolic, the
Imaginary, and the sense of ordinary reality itself depend on
the primordial loss of the maternal body; to revive it is to
threaten the order of the world" (330).
- How is the creature, according to Collings, like a woman?
- Explain: "Blindness to the Imaginary may allow some
tolerance for a body that travesties it" (333).
- How does ideology operate, according to Zizek?
- What is "a postutopian form of political hope" (338)?