This essay employs Slavoj Žižek’s elaborations of the Lacanian notion of ideological fantasy to analyze the political relationship of the people of Ruby, Oklahoma, to the outcast women of the Convent in Toni Morrison’s Paradise. That relationship exemplifies the role of the other Žižek identifies in “the conceptual Jew,” not the actually existing Jew but the fantasmatic image of the Jew of the anti–Semite. Addressing this image in the novel in terms of Žižek’s concept of the parallax gap leads to the conclusion that Morrison’s fictive world is as primordially divided as is Žižek’s philosophical one.


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