Cover

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Half Title, Frontispiece, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Epigraph

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Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Introduction: The Posthumanist Wild Child

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pp. 1-38

"Is anyone going to help me?” asks Carol, the first wild thing that eight-year-old Max encounters in Spike Jonze’s 2009 film Where the Wild Things Are. “I’m the only one who cares enough to do this [crash!] or this [crash!].”1 Carol is on a rampage, and the other wild things stand back as he destroys their dwellings. This destruction is “necessary,” according to Carol, ...

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1. Is There a Space of Maternal Ethics? Emma Donoghue’s Room

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pp. 39-72

Emma Donoghue’s harrowing 2010 novel, Room, exposes us to an extended scene of intensive parenting in a world of isolation, terror, and deprivation. A young woman has been abducted and is imprisoned in a well-secured garden shed by a psychopath. She has had a child in captivity. ...

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2. Postapocalyptic Responsibility: Patriarchy at the End of the World in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road

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pp. 73-100

How does Cormac McCarthy’s The Road think about death? More particularly, how does The Road depict a singular subject contemplating his own death, a death figured as the end of the world? The Road is the story of the death of the father in a specific sense; McCarthy’s central figure represents a recognizable moment—the passing of Cold War–era masculinity ...

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3. Maternal Love / Maternal Violence: Inventing Ethics in Toni Morrison’s A Mercy

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pp. 101-122

Many critics have written about the failure of psychoanalytic theory to address maternal subjectivity adequately, even as it relies on the person of the mother as the ground for the emergence of every figure (a kind of ground zero). Barbara Johnson, for example, in an account of the work of D. W. Winnicott, has deftly analyzed how the very attempt to move away ...

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4. “Monstrous Decision”: Destruction and Relation in Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin

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pp. 123-158

Political and economic transformations in many of the world’s wealthier countries have contributed to a cultural climate in which not having children feels, for more women and men, like a real and desirable option.1 For many reasons, and for many people, procreation appears to be more ...

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5. “Dis-ap-peared”: Endangered Children in Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners and Alice Munro’s “Miles City, Montana”

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pp. 159-190

In a widely influential 1954 essay titled “The Crisis in Education,” Hannah Arendt distanced herself from the critique of pedagogical and parental authority then under way, on the grounds that this “revolutionary pose” actually masked a widespread “estrangement from the world.”1 ...

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Afterword: The Pretense of the Human from Victor of Aveyron to Nim Chimpsky

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pp. 191-208

"What is it about an infant’s crying,” writes Alice Munro in “My Mother’s Dream,” “that makes it so powerful, able to break down the order you depend on, inside and outside yourself? It is like a storm—insistent, theatrical, yet in a way pure and uncontrived. It is reproachful rather than ...

Acknowledgments

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pp. 209-210

Notes

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pp. 211-258

Index

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pp. 259-277

About the Author

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