Abstract

Faulkner's Sanctuary compulsively revisits and refashions a centerpiece of Freudian thought, the primal scene, an image out of the unconscious mind for the origin of identity and the cultural order. As construed by Freud, the primal scene becomes a dramatization of his theory of male identity-formation in castration anxiety; that is, the primal scene poses the castration threat that causes the boy to turn away from his mother and subordinate himself to his father. Faulkner's inscriptions of the primal scene dismantle Freud's image of the invincible father and reveal that a model of identity-formation based in repression is its own undoing.

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