Abstract

The racechanges in Jack Kerouac's fiction originate in racial fetishism. Kerouac's arrested Oedipal narratives and his related myth of Native Canadian ancestry lead to ambivalent identifications with black subjects, who exhibit characteristics that more properly belong to Kerouac's mother. These identifications exhibit a fetishistic play of presence and absence. Accordingly, Kerouac's racechanges are unstable formations designed to consolidate an ethnic minority writer's American national identity, his autochthonous link to a gendered landscape and his volatile sexuality. When Kerouac's fiction is read in "translation," his joual mother-tongue dramatises a psychosexual crisis in national belonging.

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