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The passion of Margaret Powers: a psychoanalytic reading of 'Soldier's Pay.' (Special Issue: William Faulkner)

Faulkner's earliest fictional women are abstract and artificial in their literary contours, their Beardsleyan poses and stylized movements shaped by the artist's self-consciously masculine preoccupations and desires. But even in such mannered or conventionalized figures as Marietta of the symbolist drama, The Marionettes, the ironically named "Magdalen" of The New Orleans Sketches, or Margaret Powers of the first novel, Soldiers' Pay, one infers a rising tension between Faulkner's contradictory yet coexistent impulses. On the one hand, there are those impulses wishing to objectify, control, and immobilize the female figure in a stylized rhetorical or iconographic pose, one suitable for the lingering attention of the male artist or spectator. On the other hand, there are those wishing to construct her as a relatively autonomous, fundamentally creative human subject more or less resistant (if not wholly immune) to the pressures of male desire.(1) If Margaret Powers does not fully transcend that tension, neither does she seem entirely reducible to what Adaline Glasheen has called the tyrannous "donnees of the male brain, states of his excitation."(2)

I would suggest, rather, that Margaret Powers is a remarkably empathic solution of representational problems which inevitably presented themselves in the course of Faulkner's development as a full-scale modernist author, one who might soon be legitimately compared with Joyce. While retaining what he had already learned as a poet and graphic artist about representing women's formal gestures, now as a beginning novelist Faulkner needed to find his way into conceiving and representing a woman's innermost voice and motivation.(3) And what he discovered as he imagined himself into the position of Margaret Powers was a woman not so much captivated by male desire as repelled by it.

As Faulkner's first major "creative sounding of the feminine"(4) in other words, Margaret Powers was a crucial exercise in emotional identification and psychological realism for which he would draw on his own "observation, imagination, and experience as well as, in both general and specific ways, the principal literary and cultural contexts of his contemporary modernist scene. Ernst Kris has aptly formulated the kind of approach I am therefore interested in developing here:

the "reality" in which the artist creates is often neglected. "Reality" is used here not

so much in the restricted sense of immediate needs and material environment as

in another and extended sense: The structure of the problem which exists while

the artist is creating, the historical circumstances in the development of the art itself

which limit some of his work, determine in one way or another his modes of

expression and thus constitute the stuff with which he struggles in creation.(5) In attempting to articulate "the structure of the problem which exists while the artist is creating," I shall invoke the field of intertextuality, the discursive and overdetermined "lines" or "nets" according to which the artist ties himself or finds himself tied up with other texts and contexts. In the case of Faulkner writing Soldiers' Pay, such would include James Frazer's The Golden Bough (1922), Freud's Totem and Taboo (published in an English translation in 1918), and critical aspects of the "Nausicaa" and "Penelope" chapters of James Joyce's Ulysses (1922). I would suggest that this framing of a cultural and intertextual context for Soldiers' Pay is not simply "an act of interpretation ... a theoretical construct formed by and serving the purposes of a reading."(6) For I believe we can isolate and explore some of the "real and causative sources" from which Margaret Powers, as an historically specific fact of literary creation, partly derives. Indeed, as Faulkner's first important experimental study of the female character and the psychological subject, Margaret Powers is a uniquely modernist fusion of symbol, myth, and

psychopathology. Moreover, he implicates her within an elaborate narrative structure and economy with which it is well worth refamiliarizing ourselves.

At the center of the novel is the flyer Lieutenant Donald Mahon, shot down over Flanders during the war and long presumed dead. In April of 1919, however, he unexpectedly returns to his Georgia home town, blind, bereft of memory, and horribly scarred, the "dreadful scar across his brow" (p. 25) the sign of a violent physical and mental wounding. Like the bar in Lacan's semiotic fraction, separating signifier from signified, conscious from unconscious, Mahon's scar is a sign of the psyche's division, of the fierce blow by which he was separated from himself.(7) The scar also marks the presence of an energy within him which attempts to work its way "to the surface," to become aware of its own being, and thus to reconstitute a fragmentary self within the narrative coherence of a memory. As the doctor explains,

"He is practically a dead man now. More than that, he should have been dead these

three months were it not for the fact that he seems to be waiting for something.

Something he has begun, but has not completed, something he has carried from

his former life that he does not remember consciously." (pp. 154-155). Though Mahon himself "hangs on the edge of non-being"(8) his "former life" lives on like the indestructible contents of the unconscious, and in a subterranean process of what psychoanalysis would call "working through," it emerges with vivid and striking effect near the close of the novel where he recovers his memory and vision and then dies: "I never knew I could carry this much petrol, he thought in unsurprised ubiquity, leaving a darkness he did not remember for a day he had long forgot [. . .]" (p. 293). Until this unexpected emergence of memory, which seems to erupt out of a blank space in the narrative, Mahon is essentially a "process without a subject"--a process, moreover, of which both he and the other characters know nothing.(9)

If Mahon bears within him dynamic though invisible and inaccessible mental processes, his group function is to organize and overshadow the agitated lives which surround him. Indeed, like his precursors the Shade of Pierrot and the Spirit of Autumn in The Marionettes, "Without moving or speaking he dominates the whole scene," a "veiled mirror" which -- now inserted into a more realistic social arrangement -- darkly reflects the dimly articulated preoccupations, fears, and desires of a surrounding community of souls.(10) To his unfaithful fiancee, Cecily Saunders, Mahon is the returned war hero to whom she remains ambivalently engaged; to the Rector, his father, he is the dead son miraculously resurrected; to Julian Lowe, a young cadet who never gets a chance to fly, Mahon is a narcissistic image of martial glamour and heroism; to Emmy, the young housekeeper, he is the wild, faun-like boy with whom she roamed the woods and made love before the war. By virtue of these psychical investments Mahon is taken up into the soul of the community. Diffusing himself throughout the novel's complex of social relations; presiding over a field of erotic competition; contaminating desire with the remorse evoked by his dying -- he is like Jessie Weston's Fisher King, the primal father of Freud's Totem and Taboo, or the Name-of-the-Father of Lacanian psychoanalysis: the signifier of the group's erotic relation with an essentially absent yet strangely potent figure of proscription and authority. In this capacity Mahon is the fit object for an intense ambivalence of feeling, his scar the sign of a collective--and unconscious -- animosity. Of all such transferences of emotion, none is more dominant than that of Margaret Powers, for whom Mahon is an incarnation of Captain Richard Powers, her own murdered husband shot in the face at point-blank range in the trenches of wartime France.

That is to say, already in his first novel Faulkner was developing a remarkably potent narrative instrument with which to capture the logic of deep-psychic process as it traverses both the individual psychology and the structure of relationships within which it is constrained. And he was doing so while also elaborating fully coherent patterns of mythological and symbolic signification. One might reconsider in this regard the novel's opening scenes, which hint at the brilliance with which Faulkner was inventing a truly symbolic discourse while departing from the "standards and conventions of realistic fiction."(11) With its references to Achilles and Mercury as standing for contemporary soldiers, to the names Othello, Claude, Charles, Hank White, and the ranks Captain, General, Admiral and so on by which Yaphank (Gilligan) falsely designates people both present and imaginary, this bizarre prelude deploys in a darkly comic mode a manifold theme which will verge on tragic complexity as the narrative develops: that no one is fully contemporary, fully "there"; that other people are less separate realities than imagoes taking up residence in the self, that human existence mobilizes a continuous succession of temporary substitutions and "sliding referents," albeit within the predetermined, compulsively repeating limitations of some invisible Player's script. Yaphank and Lowe, identified as "drunk" and crazy" by authorities who would have them arrested at the next station, take momentary advantage of the prevailing circulation of referents in having the inebriated Schluss and his companion arrested in their place: "|Looking for two drunks, Sergeant?' [. . . .] |Oh, these are the crazy ones, are they? Where's the one they were trying to murder?'" (pp. 20-21). The one "they were trying to murder" is Yaphank's nameless drunken companion, "the dead man" ("You watch |em and I'll get aboard and see about that dead man") (p. 21) whom Lowe and Yaphank leave behind. They do not escape "the dead man," however, for he returns in the person of Donald Mahon, who represents for Margaret the dead husband Richard Powers. Gilligan later notes to Margaret that there is something "funny" in this symbolic circulation:


"Sure. Soldier dies and leaves you money, and you spend the money helping

another soldier die comfortable. Ain't that funny?"

"I suppose so. . . . Everything is funny. Horribly funny." (p. 44)

Mahon's liminal, ambiguous, and yet somehow also central position orients the narrative's funny logic which, in confusing the relation between inner and outer realities, traps the characters within an oneiric dimension of error, illusion, and mistaken identities. Hence in the following scene Cecily Saunders finds herself making love to "the wrong person" -- not, as she imagines, to Donald Mahon, but to the detested, corpulent, beast-like, and "therefore" irresistible Januarius Jones:

She entered the hall beneath the dim lovely fanlight, and her roving glance

remarked one sitting with his back to a window. She said Donald! and sailed into

the room like a bird. One hand covered her eyes and the other was outstretched

as she ran with quick tapping steps and sank before him at this feet, burying her

face in his lap.

"Donald, Donald! I will try to get used to it, I will try! Oh, Donald, Donald!

Your poor face! But I will, I will," she repeated hysterically. Her fumbling hand

touched his sleeve and slipping down his arm she drew his hand under her cheek,

clasping it. |I didn't mean to, yesterday. I wouldn't hurt you for anything, Donald.

I couldn't help it, but I love you, Donald, my precious, my own." She burrowed deeper

into his lap.

"Put your arms around me, Donald," she said, "until I get used to you again."

He complied, drawing her upward. Suddenly, struck with something familiar

about the coat, she raised her head. It was Januarius Jones.

She sprang to her feet. "You beast, why didn't you tell me?" (p. 137)(12)

At one level, of course, this is farce, but at another the scene brings about a "dreamwork" condensation of imaginary and "real" figures typical of the discourse's general logic. What Cecily wakes up from as she raises her head is a fantasy that she is loving Donald and that he is not "the dead man"; but awake, Cecily finds herself, as in a dream, making love to the "beast" whom she is unable to evade. The confusion is not dispelled, however, as she blames Mahon, not Jones, for her humiliation and calls off the engagement: "No, I am through with him, I tell you. He has humiliated me before her" (p. 140). The scene is an incident in the general communal failure to "test" reality successfully and thus to transcend the imaginary realm in which it remains immured by virtue of its unconscious investment in Mahon: with his blurred face and shadowy figure he is a piece of distorted memory, of das unheimliche itself. Hence with Cecily Saunders, Jones incarnates, performs, and so illustrates Mahon's general function: He is an incubus in the present, interposing himself between and interfering with personal relations, even as the space he postulates magnetizes the lines of force which hold the group together.(13)

Margaret Powers is Donald Mahon's fundamental counterpart in the novel, a subject traversed by unconscious processes, an object reflecting the other's fear, the other's desire. As a specular screen she is, at times, the strikingly sexual, "Beardsleyan" seductress, a "white and slim and depraved" (p. 31) figure with long dark hair, long legs, and a red mouth. At other times and for other reasons she is the affectionate "mother-woman,"(14) providing comfort and emotional nourishment: "when he was beside her she took his face in her hands and kissed him. He put his arms around her, and she drew his head between her breasts. After a while she stroked his hair and spoke" (p. 54). In accordance, however, with Faulkner's attempt to imagine the inner life of a woman, and so to define a distinctively feminine voice, consciousness, and sexual experience, she is also an internally motivated human subject who radically belies the "emotionally-charged fictions"(15) with which she is invested by the other characters and the narrator alike.

She belies them insofar as she has a repressive fiction "of her own," one rooted in an emotionally traumatic experience marked by the facial "scar" she bears. About this the text is insistent: "the red scar of her mouth," "her mouth was like a scar," "her pallid face [. . .] scarred with her mouth" (pp. 32, 40, 42). The scar links her iconographically to Donald Mahon and Richard Powers, and so implicates her in a psychological and symbolic narrative of purposive and resistless import. Controlling and orienting her contemporary existence, the past works its way through her in a movement parallel to Mahon's invisible drive toward self-presence, directing her behavior, emotion, and thought as she eventually comes to marry Mahon and thus to repeat her marriage to Dick, her dead husband. In this classic piece of "acting out," she is able once again to preside over the death of a husband.(16)

As the eventual bride of the death-in-life figure Mahon, Margaret is given an appropriately dark and uncanny stylization: "They watched her until her dark dress merged with shadow beyond the zone of light" (p. 211). "She evaded her blanket and reaching her arm swept the room with darkness" (p. 45). Smoking cigarettes and expelling smoke from her mouth and nostrils, she is a postwar version of Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter, a woman "to be touched only with a glove, nor to be approached without a mask. As Beatrice came down the garden path, it was observable that she handled and inhaled the odor of several of the plants, which her father had most sedulously avoided."(17) Margaret walks in the rector's garden, a "black woman [... ] among roses, blowing smoke upon them from her pursed mouth, bending and sniffing above them" (p. 247). The women especially intuit her inimical force: Cecily Saunders refers to her as "that black, ugly woman" (p. 129) and accuses her of keeping Mahon shut up like a prisoner, while Emmy accuses Margaret of murder: "|Let me alone! Go away!' she said, fiercely. "You got him killed: now bury him yourself" (p. 296).

Such dark imagery and associations tend to strain against the more or less traditional view of Margaret as "a decent and generous ... woman ... who shows kindness, understanding and a genuine graciousness" to those around her.(18) Along similar lines Sally R. Page has seen Margaret as representative of "a creative and sustaining force in human life."(19) Indeed, with "Her black eyes, her red mouth like a pomegranate blossom" (p. 106), Margaret, rather, is a Persephone, a death-figure, a Taboo Object, a woman of dangerous if not fatal sexual power. And with their horrible facial wounds, their deaths brought about by violence, Margaret's husbands, Richard Powers and Donald Mahon, trace the arch of a recognizable destiny, of a mysterious violation of taboo and consequent fatality.(20) As she herself warns Joe Gilligan, who would be the third to wed her, "All the men that marry me die, you know" (p. 306). Mahon dead and her work thus accomplished, she disappears from the novel, a Persephone returning as a bride to join her dead lovers, or a Eurydice failing back into Hades: Joe Gilligan is left chasing a fast-receding figure:

He stopped at last, actually weeping with anger and despair, watching her figure,

in its dark straight dress and white collar and cuffs, become smaller and smaller

with the diminishing train that left behind a derisive whistle blast and a trailing

fading vapor like an insult, moving along twin threads of steel out of his sight and

his life. (p. 309)

In one sense there is no transcending the mythological logic: the men who marry her die because she is Persephone. But if Margaret is a principal agent of what one might call the novel's "mythical method'" Faulkner, a true contemporary of Freud as well as Joyce, Frazer, and Eliot, "manipulates a continuous parallel between contemporaneity and antiquity"(21) in conceiving the meaning of this death as the effect of a wish emanating from the unconscious, and in grounding that death wish in a Freudian prototypical event, the sexual trauma. Indeed, Faulkner's inner portrait of Margaret leads steadily and decisively to the psychological locus of that disturbing event, the passage and repassage in her mind of a highly ambivalent sexual encounter with Richard Powers. Accordingly, Margaret Powers is the occasion of the novel's most extensive foray into psychological realism, the ground of the novel's most convincing exploration and assessment of mental process and motivation.

Like many young women of the time, Margaret had accepted an impromptu marriage proposal from a young officer about to leave for the war. After three intense days in which she felt herself violated in a sexual encounter with Powers ("it was like when you are a child in the dark and you keep on saying, It isn't dark, it isn't dark") (p. 163)--after three days the affair was over, and she experienced a steadily mounting guilt, misgiving, and hostility. When she feared she was pregnant, she "almost hated Dick," but soon, she claims, he became "a shadowy sort of person" (p. 163). At last she no longer missed him, no longer looked forward "to getting one of those dreadful flimsy envelopes" he continued regularly to send her. Eventually she sends him a letter "call[ing] the whole thing off" (p. 164):(22)

"And then, before my letter reached him, I received an official notice that he

had been killed in action. He never got my letter at all. He died believing that everything

was the same between us." (p. 164)(22)

As eventually becomes apparent, she behaves as if she had somehow brought about his death, a death in which she encounters the dreaded evidence of the potency of her own hostile wishes.

In this sense, her guilt is predicated on a structural principle of what Frazer called magical or animistic thinking, the "belief in the sympathetic influence exerted on each other by persons or things at a distance." "Should a wife prove unfaithful while her husband is away," Frazer tells us, "he will lose his life in the enemy's country"--an archetypal logic as necessary to Soldiers' Pay as to Homer's Odyssey and Joyce's Ulysses.(23) Frazer's picture of the "prehistoric mind" is of the utmost pertinence, for in Freud's seminal analogy in Totem and Taboo (whose original subtitle was "Some Points of Agreement between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics"), the modern neurotic, like the "savage," inhabits an essentially animistic universe.

For Frazer, animistic thinking is structured by "two great fundamental laws of thought, namely, the association of ideas by similarity" (operative in homoeopathic or imitative magic) "and the association of ideas by contiguity in space or time" (p. 49) (operative in contagious magic). For Freud, the roots of these two basic conceptual operations are to be found in primary process thought, which is dominated by the mechanisms of condensation and displacement.(24) The laws of similarity are those of displacement, the laws of contagion those of condensation. For both Freud and Frazer, however, the distinction cannot be rigorously maintained. As Freud explains in Totem and Taboo:

the two principles of association -- similarity and contiguity -- are both included in

the more comprehensive concept of "contact". Association by contiguity is contact

in the literal sense; association by similarity is contact in the metaphorical sense.

The use of the same word for the two kinds of relation is no doubt accounted for

by some identity in the psychical processes concerned. . . . (p. 85)

Moreover, as Frazer reminds us, "things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed" (p. 11; emphasis added). In other words, "contiguity" is simply a matter of imagined contact. The phenomenon of psychically maintained "contact" makes intelligible the meaning of any manipulation of symbols which seeks to influence the course of nature, whether it be bringing about the death of an enemy by mutilating his wooden likeness, or healing a wound by purifying the knife which had inflicted it. In the unconscious of the neurotic, the manipulation of mental symbols alone creates effects in the world. In Totem and Taboo Freud draws the essential point: "it appears that the true explanation of all the folly of magical observances [inherent in animistic and neurotic thinking in general] is the domination of the association of ideas," "the mistaking of an ideal connection for a real one," or, as he will go on to say, "the omnipotence of thoughts" (pp. 83, 79, 85). It is this overvaluation of mental process, driven by the power of the wish, that causes the primitive or the neurotic to transpose the order of his mind (or hers) into the external world, so much so that the reflection of the internal world "is bound to blot out the other picture of the world" (p. 85), that is, the world whose fundamental reality is successfully distinguished from one's imagination of it.(25)

Hence we may articulate a psychological dynamic central to the design of Soldiers' Pay: the imposition upon an "inferior" external reality of a "superior" psychological reality, one properly understood in its Freudian dimension as dominated by the purposes of the unconscious. Thus Margaret's marriage to Donald Mahon may be understood as a fundamentally symbolic act, culminating a process of mourning partly driven by the obsessive self-reproaches of a woman who believes herself to have been responsible for the death of her husband. At a certain level these self-reproaches are indeed justified, for we can infer (quoting Freud's Totem and Taboo) that "there was something in her -- a wish that was unconscious to herself -- which would not have been dissatisfied by the occurrence of death and which might actually have brought it about if it had had the power" (p. 60). And it is her compulsion both to repeat and to undo an original death wish that finds in Mahon a clear object of her ambivalence. Again she marries, again he dies. Again she is a bride, again a widow. Ostensibly an act of atonement, in actuality the marriage is a screen for another death wish.

Like Freud's hysterical patients, in other words, Margaret "suffers mainly from reminiscences," from an unsuccessful attempt to live more fully in the present.(26) For this reason, all the living men who would love her, Joe Gilligan, Julian Lowe, Januarius Jones -- like Gabriel Conroy of Joyce's "The Dead" -- are displaced by a dead man. Faulkner would have found in Joyce's story an impressive and mature formulation of the themes he was pursuing: the male protagonist's self-serving visions of the female subject of desire; the threatening discovery that, contrary to his narcissistic expectations, all along "she had been comparing him in her mind with another;"(27) the uncanny experience of being displaced by a dead man, a revenant; the complex and conflicting emotions that the dead evoke in the living. In their encounters with her, beginning in the hotel room in chapter one and repeated in later episodes, both Gilligan and Lowe want to believe they are the subjects of Margaret's erotic longing and contemplation ("Maybe she's thinking of me, [Lowe] told himself, swiftly donning his khaki" [p. 49]). Eventually intuiting that she is otherwise absorbed, Gilligan responds as does Gabriel Conroy, who "longed to be master of [Gretta's] strange mood [. . . .] to cry to her from his soul, to crush her body against his, to overmaster her" (p. 217). Gilligan similarly thinks: "Take her in my arms, he debated, overcome her with my own passion. Feeling this, she withdrew from him, though her body had not moved" (p. 164). And if like Gabriel Conroy both Gilligan and Lowe are filled with romantic visions of the woman they desire, Margaret, like Gretta, is entirely consumed by thoughts of a dead lover: "(Dear dead Dick.) (Mahon under his scar, sleeping.) (Dick, my dearest one.)" (p. 44). In giving us these closed subjectivities, juxtaposed, Faulkner like Joyce creates a gap between the man's desire and the woman's autonomous reality. Thus is dramatized the "disturbing" realization that women are more complicated, less ideal than men commonly flatter themselves in imagining.

The "Nausicaa" chapter of Ulysses gives us a comic variation on this theme as Gerty MacDowell and Leopold Bloom face each other on the strand, each absorbed in entirely private and ironically disparate streams of reflection. Placing Margaret on a bed and Gilligan in a chair facing her, Faulkner exploits a similar, compressed version of that dual narrative technique, accommodating unique processes of thinking to appropriately differentiated verbal contents and textures. Their narratives open in the third person and culminate in authentic interior monologues, the seam between third- and first-person focalization indicated by authorial ellipses:

She clasped her knees, huddled beneath the blanket, changing the position of her

body as it became cramped, feeling the wooden head-board of the bed, wondering

why there were not iron beds, wondering why everything was as it was -- iron beds,

why you deliberately took certain people to break your intimacy, why these people

died, why you yet took others. . . Will my death be like this: fretting and exasperating?

Am I cold by nature, or have I spent all my emotional coppers, that I don't

seem to feel things like others? Dick, Dick. Ugly and Dead.

Gilligan sat brittly in his chair, focusing his eyes with an effort, having those

instruments of vision evade him, slimy as broken eggs. Lights completing a circle,

an orbit; she with two faces sitting on two beds, clasping four arms around her knees.

... Why can't a man be very happy or very unhappy? It's only a sort of pale mixture

of the two. Like beer when you want a shot -- or a drink of water. Neither one

nor the other. (p. 39) Here may be discerned one of Faulkner's early technical and stylistic experiments in representing the subjective dimensions of distinct characters. As such the scene involves the reader in a dialectic of identification and otherness in a manner that foreshadows, however tentatively, the stunning and unparalleled achievement of As I Lay Dying.

The following "trick" Margaret plays on Joe Gilligan, moreover, seems a direct transfiguration of the scene in Nausicaa where Gerty exposes herself to Bloom:

She clasped her knees, huddled beneath the blanket, changing the position of her

body [.... ] She moved carelessly and the blanket slipped entirely, exposing her

thin nightdress; raising her arms and twisting her body to replace it her long shank

was revealed and her turning ankle and her bare foot. Gilligan without moving said:

"Ma'am let's get married" [. . . .]

"I'm sorry I played that trick, Joe" (pp. 39, 42) Here is Gerty:

She leaned back far to look up where the fireworks were and she caught her knee

in her hands so as not to fall back looking up and there was no-one to see only

him and her when she revealed all her graceful beautifully shaped legs like that,

supply soft and delicately rounded, and she seemed to hear the panting of his heart,

his hoarse breathing, because she knew about the passion of men like that, hot-blooded. . . .(28)

But it is to Molly Bloom in "Penelope"--the prevailing fictional definition of a woman's consciousness -- that Faulkner would have turned as he began to imagine more fully the sexual content of Margaret's psychology. Central to both Molly and Margaret's narratives are the thoughts, images, and associations accompanying thier ambivalence toward sexual encounters that, in their extremes, are experienced as brute violations of the body and soul. Acccordingly thier narratives return to what Foucault has designated as "the theme of a dynamic upheaval of corporeal space," to what Lacan has described as "the imaginary blueprint of breaking and entering the body, fear of which is supposed to control female sexuality."(29) In particular, both women recall with mixed desire and aversion the naked male body, and make unmistakable references to the invasive power and "ugliness" of the male organ:

[women] are so beautiful of course compared with what a man looks like with his

two bags full and his other thing hanging down out of him or sticking up at you

like a hatrack no wonder they hide it with a cabbageleaf [. . .] (p. 753)

because he must have come 3 or 4 times with that tremendous big red brute of a

thing he has I thought the vein or whatever the dickens they call it was going to

burst though his nose is not so big after I took off all my things with the blinds

down after my hours dressing and perfuming and combing it like iron or some

kind of a thick crowbar standing all the time he must have eaten oysters I think

a few dozen he was in great singing voice no I never in all my life felt anyone had

one the size of that to make you feel full up he must have eaten a whole sheep after

whats the idea making us like that with a big hole in the middle of us like a Stallion

driving it up into you because thats all they want out of you with that determined

vicious look in his eye I had to half shut my eyes [. . .] nice invention they made

for women for him to get all the pleasure [. . .] (p. 742)

Margaret's version of the response to the aroused male anatomy is characteristically more rude and direct, the frankly opposed forces of her conflicting emotions more clearly identifiable. But with her speech we arrive at a decisive moment in Faulkner's developing art: the "Beardsleyan" object suddenly begins to speak in a strange personal idiom of unmistakable if crude power, and so the object must become a subject to be identified with:

How ugly men are, naked. Don't leave me, don't leave me! No, no! we don't love

each other! we don't! we don't! Hold me close, close: my body's intimacy is broken,

unseeing: thank God my body cannot see. Your body is so ugly, Dick! Dear Dick.

Your bones, your mouth hard and shaped as bone: rigid. My body flows away: you

cannot hold it. Why do you sleep, Dick? My body flows on and on. You cannot hold

it, for yours is so ugly, dear Dick [. . . .] (p. 182)

I miss you like the devil, Dick. Someone to sleep with? I don't know. Oh, Dick, Dick.

You left no mark on me, nothing. Kiss me through my hair, Dick, with all your

ugly body, and let's don't ever see each other again, ever.... No, we won't, dear,

ugly Dick. (p. 182)(30)

Dick, my love, that I did not love, Dick, your ugly body breaking into mine like

a burglar, my body flowing away, washing away all trace of yours. . . . Kiss and forget

me: remember me only to wish me luck, dear, ugly, dead Dick .... ) (p. 184)

As I think is clear in the passages quoted above, the sexual experiences of Molly and Margaret are represented as fundamentally entangled ones, sources not only of pain and humiliation but also of a certain illicit sexual pleasure, and therefore of those forces opposing sexual desire: disgust, revulsion, guilt. In Margaret's case this process (call it a mode of suffering as well as thinking) is continuous, self-perpetuating, and unforgiving.(31) In this sense, the phrase "dear, ugly, dead Dick" is Faulknees effort to bring about a mimesis of (failed) repression, to represent the decentering of the subject in the unresolved conflict between desire and proscription. The reiterated "Dear, dead, Dick" and variations must also be read as a kind of "corporeal image"(32) which pulls into the verbal stream of Margaret's ambivalence the residual presence of the formerly living lover, the prone corpse, and the hard phallic bone. What is being represented, then, is not only "words"--the sheer linguistic content of Margaret's imagination--but also "forces," affects, impulses, drives, what Freud has called "the somatic demands upon the mind."(33) If Faulkner is giving us, then, as much a woman's "voice" as a form of being in itself, he is also representing his understanding of the mental structure of the human personality "and the energies or forces which [in being) active in it"(34) impel the subject along alien pathways of thought and behavior. Indeed Margaret "herself" is decentered by the strange, "Other" discourse that traverses her, a discourse whose path traces the expanding border of the soul's "internal foreign territory."(35)

In this light we may continue to contemplate the meaning and purpose of Margaret's compulsive return to the scene of her original violation. Like Molly, Margaret is fascinated by the specular image of the body being broken into, the image overpowering suspended or impotent acts of aversion:

like a Stallion driving it up into you [. . .] I had to half shut my eyes [. . .] (U, p. 727)

thank God my body cannot see [. . .] (p. 182)

Your ugly body breaking into mine like a burglar. (p. 184) But in the dynamic of Margaret's obsession, the knowledge of Powers' death invades, by deferred action,(36) the memories of their lovemaking: it is as if he were already then a corpse, so intimately are the ideas of sex, death, rigor mortis, and phallic rigidity associated. If Margaret's character expresses an archetypal notion of woman as the ground of "Sex and death" (p. 295), that is because in this case she is also the site of a revengeful desire that Powers should have died during the very scene of violation:

Your bones, your mouth hard and shaped as bone: rigid. My body flows away: you

cannot hold it. (p. 182)

(Dick, Dick. Dead, ugly Dick. Once you were alive and young and passionate and

ugly, after a time you were dead, dear Dick: that flesh, that body, which I loved and

did not love; your beautiful, young, ugly body, dear Dick, become now a seething

of worms, like new milk. Dear Dick.) (p. 44)

Philip Castille has commented that in rejecting Gilligan and marrying the impotent Mahon, Margaret "re-enact[s] her first marriage without its difficult sexual demands."(37) In the light of the passages cited above, I would suggest, rather, that in marrying Mahon she obeys a compulsion to repeat, mentally, that earlier sexual experience: in avenging the ravages of Powers' potency, Margaret deems Mahon a suitable substitute. The comparison to "Penelope" is again suggestive. Molly is freely able to recall her past sexual experiences and then to move on, decisively, to an acceptance of Bloom; thus her response is relatively classical and composed.(38) For Margaret, in contrast, there is no getting beyond Richard Powers until, presumably, she completes a long-suspended act and presides over the burial of Donald Mahon. The question of Margaret's overall "health" or "pathology," free will or blindness, therefore, is a tricky one. Insofar as "Holding back aggressiveness is in general unhealthy and leads to illness (to mortification),"(39) a major line of force in the novel would indeed be Margaret's healing herself by bringing to a culmination the pattern of behavior she has been blindly following all along: she will marry Donald Mahon and so give complete expression to her long-suppressed hostility, converting obsessional thought and behavior into meaningful "contemporary" action. Even if one might be inclined to argue that she makes the choice to marry "in freedom," her choice "commits her to the past" just the same (to adapt the formulation of T. H. Adamowski from another context(40). As the narrator tells us after she has made her decision, and after Mahon has died, "She felt freer, more at peace with herself than she had felt for months. But I won't think about that, she decided deliberately. It is best just to be free, not to let, it into the conscious mind" (p. 30 1). Until she "frees" herself, one may assume that -- as the sheer repetitive character of her utterances suggests -- she contains a province of mental and somatic life over which she has little if no control.

Margaret Powers may be read as Faulkner's first major effort to give a certain representational and ontological legitimacy to what the male characters in his novel experience as woman's fundamental "otherness." This effort inevitably took him toward what he assumed were the elemental modes of female psychosexual experience: desire, "hysteria," suffering, passion. Equally Margaret suggests that in Faulkner's sustained and serious effort to modernize himself, he needed to explore the "dark continent" of female sexuality and psychology (as joyce had done) and thus begin to explore from the "other" perspective the meaning and consequences of male orders of desire and control. One feels that Faulkner's effort was of decisive importance, for in creating Margaret he made a significant advance in the direction of those sources within himself that could make profound imaginative contact with the most intimate aspects of a woman's experience. In this sense, Margaret Powers represents perhaps the first vital occasion of Faulkner's developing discovery, widely associated with The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying, that "every narrative allows its teller to embody (not simply to express) an identity."(41) In embodying an identity deeply entangled in the ambivalence of erotic experience, Margaret Powers prefigures with remarkable boldness the powerfully imagined subjectivities of Temple Drake, Caroline Compson, Addie Bundren, and Rosa Coldfield. (1) These contradictory impulses are not precisely "opposite" ones in Faulkner's novels: insofar as idealization (and its correlate

"objectification") of the object is also a warding off of "unwelcome," hostile, or desecrating ideas and impulses, the extreme counterpart of the stylized virgin would not be the creative female subject but the woman of gross corporeality. Consider Januarius Jones's mental struggle as he holds Cecily in his arms: "He refused to hear her breath as he refused to feel a bodily substance in his arms. Not an ivory carving: this would have body, rigidity; not an animal that eats and digests -- this is the heart's desire purged of flesh. |Be quiet,' he told himself as much as her, "don't spoil it'." (William Faulkner, Soldiers' Pay [1926; rpt. New York: Boni & Liveright, 19541, p. 225). Subsequent references to the novel appear in the text. My ellipses will appear in square brackets to distinguish them from Faulkner's. (2) Adaline Glasheen, "Calypso," in Clive Hart and David Hayman, eds., James Joyce's "Ulysses": Critical Essays (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974), p. 61. Minrose Gwin's formulation of the question of the relation of the "male creator and female created" is relevant to my discussion of Margaret: "[Faulkner] accorded some of his woman characters an intellectual and creative velocity that we have not yet reckoned with and that may be seen as powerfully connected to his own creative impulse. . . . Female characters in Faulkner's texts may be both subject and object in the sense that he creates them yet in a mysterious way also permits his own subjectivity to become entangled with theirs, thus blurring the boundaries of what is male and what is female, who writes and who is written" (The Feminine and Faulkner: Reading (Beyond) Sexual Difference [Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1990], pp. 12, 31). (3) For discussions of Faulkner's earliest art, see Lothar Honnighausen, William Faulkner: The Art of Stylization in his Early Graphic and Literary Work (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987) and Judith L. Sensibar, The Origins of Faulkner's Art (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984). See also Panthea Reid Broughton's discussion of "an aesthetic and humane revision" undergone by Faulkner's early depiction of women: "Acknowledging that art should create empathy, Faulkner as novelist showed for women an empathy not present in his poetry" ("The Economy of Desire: Faulkner's Poetics, from Eroticism to Post-Impressionism," Faulkner Journal, 4 [Fall 1988/Spring 1989), 159-177; 168). My discussion of Soldiers' Pay has also been informed by the following studies: Cleanth Brooks, "Faulkner's First Novel," Southern Review, 6 (1970),1056-1074; Philip Castille, "Women and Myth in Faulkner's First Novel," Tulane Studies in English, 23 (1978), 175-186; Martin Kreiswirth, William Faulkner: The Making of a Novelist (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1983), pp. 37-69; Thomas McHaney, "The Modernism of Soldiers' Pay," William Faulkner: Material, Studies, and Criticism, 3 (1980), 16-30; Michael Millgate, The Achievement of William Faulkner (Lincoin: University of Nebraska Press, 1978), pp. 61-67; and "Starting Out in the Twenties: Reflections on Soldiers' Pay," MOSAIC, 7 (1973), 1-14; Edmond Volpe, A Reader's Guide to William Faulkner (New York: Noonday Press, 1964), pp. 49-56; Judith Bryant Wittenberg, Faulkner: The Transfiguration of Biography (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979), pp. 42-50; and Margaret J. Yonce, "The Composition of Soldiers' Pay," Mississippi Quarterly, 33 (1980), 291-326; "Shot Down Last Spring: The Wounded Aviators of Faulkner's Wasteland," Mississippi Quarterly, 31 (1978), 359-368; and "Soldiers' Pay: A Critical Study of William Faulkner's First Novel" (Diss., University of South Carolina, 1970). (4) Gwin, p. 24. (5) Ernst Kris, Psychoanalytic Explorations in Art (New York: International Universities Press, Inc, 1952), p. 15. (6) "The identification of an intertext is an act of interpretation. The intertext is not a real and causative source but a theoretical construct formed by and serving the purposes of a reading" (John Frow, "Intertextuality and Ontology," quoted in Thomas Carmichael, "Lee Harvey Oswald and the Postmodern Subject: History and Intertextuality in Don DeLillo's Libra, The Names, and Mao II," Contemporary Literature, 34 [Summer 1993], 205.) (7) The psychoanalytic experience does nothing other than establish that the unconscious leaves none of our actions outside its field. . . . It is a matter, therefore, of defining the topography of this unconscious. I say that it is the very topography defined by the algorithm: S s ...(Jacques Lacan, "The agency of the letter in the unconscious or reason since Freud," in Ecrits: A Selection; trans. Alan Sheridan [New York: Norton and Norton, 1977], p. 163). (8) I borrow the phrase from Richard Ellman, "Nayman of Noland," New York Review of Books, 13 (April 24, 1986), 36. (9) I have extracted the phrase "process without a subject" from Althusser's dictum, "History is a process without a telos or a subject," quoted in Fredric Jameson, The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 198 1), p. 29. (10) William Faulkner, The Marionettes (Charlottesville: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, 1977), p. 37. See also Noel Polk's introduction: the play "flatly predicts many of the techniques that were to become so important in his mature work--the structural frame, the counterpointed plot, and diverse viewpoints of the central action. . ." (p. ix). (11) Andre Bleikasten, The Most Splendid Failure: Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury" (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976), p. 19. (12) We can trace this dialectic of voyeurism and exposure to the beginning of the Charlestown section of the novel where Jones, having removed his wet trousers, is discovered by Emmy; This virgin shrieked at the spectacle of Jones, ludicrous in his shirt and his fat pink legs and the trousers jerked solemn and lethargic into the room" (p. 66)--the scene repeating itself as Cecily enters the room soon after: "Jones bowed with obese incipient grace as she faced him, but at her expression of hushed delicate amazement he knew panic. Then he remembered the rector's cursed trousers and he felt his neck and ears slowly burn [.... ] She dragged her fascinated gaze from Jones and hating them both Jones felt perspiration under his hair" (pp. 70-71). The scene is oneiric, archaic, and regressive in its humiliation and pure sadistic pleasure: "She looked at him again, as she might at a strange beast [.... ] and screamed with laughter" (p. 7 1). Jones, who is frequently described as a satyr or goat--that is, as a creature who wears the unmistakable sign of his masculine beastliness" on the outside--has managed to get past the door of the rector's house by "concealing something" from him; as the rector comments, however, Jones cannot fool the women: "Well, Mr. Jones, you seem to have concealed something from me [....] Ah, don't try to hide your light, Mr. Jones. Women know these things. They see through us at once" (p. 72). Cf. Freud's discussion of the "embarrassing dreams of being naked" which form the basis of the fairy tale "The Emperor's New Clothes" (The Interpretation of Dreams, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, trans. and ed. James Strachey [London: Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1966], vol. 4, pp. 242-248). See also Jacques Derrida's discussion, in "The Purveyor of Truth" (Yale French Studies, 52 [1975], 31-113), of the "nakedness at once unapparent and exhibited" (p. 37) which is the focus of Freud's discussion. (13) Freud's Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921), (Standard Edition, vol. 18 ) is an especially rich intertext for Faulkner's first novel. In this work Freud posits a network of libidin ties as the basis of group cohesion, having seen in the mass behavior of nations, religious groups, and armies before and during World War I the operation of a fundamental relation between personal narcissism and collective thinking: "a primary group ... is a number of individuals who have put one and the same object in the place of their ego ideal. . ." (p. 116). As an ideal self establishing itself in the place occupied by the individual superego (whose nucleus is the narcissistic ego ideal), the group's ego ideal rules and overmasters the ego itself, and proves fundamentally inescapable. One might also consider the way both Freud and Faulkner illustrate the force of group cohesion by positing its disintegration in scenes of wartime panic (cf Group Psychology, pp. 96ff and the brutal "primal scene" of Soldiers' Pay in which Captain Richard Powers is shot in the face by foot-soldier Dewey [pp. 176-179]). (14) "In short, Mrs. Pontellier was not a mother-woman" (Kate Chopin, The Awakening [I 899; New York: Bantam, 1992], p. 10). (15) Freud first used the expression in a letter to Wilhelm Fliess written in September 1897 (The Origin of Psycho-Analysis. Letters to Wilhelm Fliess, Drafts and Notes: 1887-1902, ed. Marie Bonaparte, Anna Freud, and Ernst Kris, trans. Eric Mosbacher and James Strachey [New York: Basic Books, 1977], p. 216). (16) Acting out: "an action in which the subject, in the grip of his unconscious wishes and phantasies, relives these in the present with a sensation of immediacy which is heightened by his refusal to recognise their source and their repetitive character" (J. Laplanche and J.-B. Pontalis, The Language of Psycho-Analysis, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith [New York: Norton, 1973], p. 4). (17) Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Rappaccini's Daughter," in Nathaniel Hawthorne, Selected Tales and Sketches, ed. Michael J. Colacurcio (New York: Penguin, 1987), pp. 391-392. That is why Frederick Crews has called Beatrice an "insecticide maiden" (The Sins of the Fathers: Hawthorne's Psychological Themes [New York: Oxford University Press, 1966], p. 117). Like Beatrice subjected to the gaze of the voyeur Giovanni, Margaret unwittingly suffers the gaze of the more brazenly lecherous Januarius Jones: "He saw that black woman in the garden among roses, blowing smoke upon them from her pursed mouth, bending and sniffing above them, and he joined her with slow anticipated malice mentally stripping her straight dark unemphatic dress downward from her straight back over her firm quiet thighs" (p. 247). Cf. also Marietta of The Marionettes: "Nothing save death is as beautiful as I am, and I shall wear a jade gown, and walk on the gravel paths in my garden" (p. 49). (18) Cleanth Brooks, introduction to Sally R. Page, Faulkner's Women: Characterization and Meaning (Deland, Florida: Everett/Edwards, 1972), p. xi. (19) Page, Faulkner's Women, p. xxiii. However, Page gives support to a darker view by acknowledging that Margaret "marries Donald to justify herself to her dead husband, whom she feels she married and made love to hypocritically. However, their marriage involves no real union and seems to hasten Donald's death rather than retard it" (p. 7). Jessie Weston has told us that "Not Death but Resurrection is the essential centre of Ritual," and that "a ceremonial |marriage' very frequently formed a part of "Fertility" ritual, and was supposed to be specially efficacious in bringing about the effect desired"--that is, the removal of the curse lying on the dying king, the restoration of his health and virility, and hence the regeneration of the land "From Ritual to Romance [1920; New York: Doubleday, 1957], pp. xi, 31, and passim). In accordance with what seems a directly Freudian understanding of the fundamental ambivalence underlying the cult of revivication, Margaret's marriage brings about the renewal of the death wish that accompanies the community's ironic reenactment of the fertility ceremony. The task of restoration of the waste land has failed; the king, as a result of an unconscious psychological act, is killed. (20) CE the structure of the Greek tragedy as outlined by Freud in Totem and Taboo (Standard Edition, vol. 13, pp. 1-161; subsequent references appear in the text): "A company of individuals, named and dressed alike, surrounded a single figure, all hanging upon his words and deeds: they were the Chorus and the impersonator of the Hero. . . . The Hero of tragedy must suffer; to this day that remains the essence of a tragedy. He had to bear the burden of what was known as "tragic guilt"; the basis of that guilt is not always easy to find, for in the light of our everyday life it is often no guilt at all. As a rule it lay in rebellion against some divine or human authority. . . . The crime which was thrown on to his shoulders, presumptuousness and relbelliousness against a great authority, was precisely the crime for which the members of the Chorus, the company of brothers, were responsible. Thus the tragic Hero became, though it might be against his will, the redeemer of the Chorus" (pp. 155, 156). (21) T. S. Eliot, "Uysses, Order and Myth," in Selected Prose of T S. Eliot, ed. Frank Kermode (London: Faber, 1975), p. 177. (22) For an interesting discussion of the discourse of letters in Soldiers' Pay, see James G. Watson William Faulkner: Letters and Fictions (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987), pp. 29-39. (23) James G. Frazer, The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion, abridged edition (I 922; London: Macmillan, 1987), pp. 22, 25. Subsequent references appear in the text. See also Thomas McHaney, "Sanctuary and Frazer's Slain Kings" (Mississippi Quarterly, 24 [1971], 223-245) for a strong demonstration that Faulkner writing Sanctuary adapted for his purposes critical aspects of the opening pages of the one-volume abridgement of The Golden Bough. Frazer's discussion of the psychological principles of imitative and contagious magic occurs within that volume's first forty pages. (24) See Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams, pp. 277ff. (25) [T]he ego must observe the external world, must lay down an accurate picture of it in the memory-traces of its perceptions, and by its exercise of the function of "reality-testing" must put aside whatever in this picture of the external world is an addition derived from internal sources of excitation" (Freud, "The Dissection of the Psychical Personality," New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, Standard Edition, vol. 22, p. 75). (26) "Hysterics suffer mainly from reminiscences1 (Joseph Breuer and Sigmund Freud, Studies on Hysteria, Standard Edition, vol. 2, p. 58). See also Philip Rieff, Freud: The Mind of the Moralist, third edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979): "[P]sychoanalysis encourages its subjects to live with a reduced burden of memory, closer to the surface of life, where tensions cannot take root and feed off the accumulated energies of the past. Though Freud is commonly thought to have measured neurosis against the ideal of an unimpaired sexual efficiency, it would be more accurate to say that he measured it against an ideal contemporaneity" (p. 44). (27) James Joyce, "The Dead," in James Joyce, Dubliners, ed. A. Walton Litz (New York: Penguin, 1969), p. 219. Subsequent references to the story appear in the text. (28) James Joyce, Ulysses (New York: Random House, 1961), p. 365. (Subsequent references to the novel appear in the text. My ellipses appear in square brackets to distinguish them from Joyce's. All citations match those from the edition of the novel Faulkner owned [Paris: Shakespeare & Co., 19241). Faulkner appears to have imitated Joyce's detailed and wandering assessment of Gerty's face and figure as he brought his portrait of Cecily Saunders to a focus. Like Cecily, Gerty combines girlish innocence with a striking sexuality. Gerty possesses a "softlyfeatured face", eyes "set off by lustrous lashes," "dark brown hair," a "slight and graceful" figure, "delicate hands and high arched instep," and hands" of finely veined alabaster with tapering fingers" (p. 348). In pressing upon the reader equally voyeuristic eye-movements, Faulkner's "sentimental" description of Cecily appears to imitate, in slightly different variations, Joyce's images, words, and rhythms: "Her mother drew a chair to the side of the bed and examined her daughter's pretty shallow face, the sweep of her lashes upon her white cheek, her arms paralleling the shape of her body beneath the covers, her delicate blue-veined wrists and her long slender hands relaxed and palm-upward beside her" (p. 95). In the movement from Nausicaa to Circe, corresponding to a weakening of the powers of censorship in the imaginative "work" of the discourse, the "sentimental" focus gives way to the desecrating one, and the virginal though seductive girl becomes a nightmarish sexual aggressor. The focus on the mouth is displaced, appropriately, downwards: Leering, Gerty MacDowell limps forward. She draws from behind ogling, and shows coyly her bloodied clout" (p. 442). There appears to be something of this fear and ambivalence in Faulkner's first portrait of Margaret which, in foregrounding the "red scar" of her mouth against the pallid background of her "white and slim and depraved" (p. 31) figure, hints at Faulkner's depiction of the more frankly menacing and repellent sexuality of Temple Drake in Sanctuary. (29) Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Vintage, 1988), p. 146; Lacan, "The function and field of speech and language in psychoanalysis," in Ecrits, p. 53. (30) CF. "Marietta -- I cannot sleep, my narrow bed is not cool tonight. My bed is heavy and hot with something that fills me with strange desires. Why am I filled with desire for vague, unnamed things because a singing voice disturbed my dreams? For I do not, I cannot, know the voice which sung beneath my window. No, No, I do not want to know, I am afraid to know! Am I afraid, I wonder?" (The Marionettes, pp. 10-11). Cf. also "The Priest," in William Faulkner, New Orleans Sketches, ed. Carvel Collins (New York: Random House, 1958): Mortification, and the flesh like a babe crying among dark trees . . . |hold my hair fast, and kiss me through it -- so: Ah, God, ah, God, that day should be so soon!" (p. 5; Faulkner's ellipses). (31) The classical psychoanalytic understanding of the trauma of sexual violation is relevant to Margaret's case. That trauma is a result not only of the "act itself" but of the emotions, fantasies, and affects generated by it. Moreover, the brutality of the assault from without is matched by a deferred and then ongoing assault from within: the act causes thoughts and feelings which, deemed to be incompatible with or threatening to the ego, must be repudiated by the more or less ceaseless work of repression. See Robert A. Paul, "Freud and the Seduction Theory: A Critical Examination of Masson's The Assault on Truth," Journal of Psychoandytic Anthropology, 8 (1985), 161-187; and Norman N. Holland, "Massonic Wrongs," American Imago, 46 (Winter 1989), 329-352. (32) "Words are trapped in all the corporeal images that captivate the subject. . ." (Lacan, "The function and field of speech and language in psychoanalysis," Ecrits, p. 87). (33) "The forces which we assume to exist behind the tensions caused by the needs of the id are called instincts. They represent somatic demands upon the mind" (Freud, "An Outline of Psychoanalysis," JV. 148). (34) Freud, "An Outline of Psychoanalysis," Standard Edition, vol. 23, p. 157. (35) "[T]he repressed is foreign territory to the ego -- internal foreign territory -- just as reali if you will forgive the unusual expression) is external foreign territory" (Freud, "The Dissection of die Psychical Personality," p. 57). (36) Deferred action: "the subject revises past events at a later date ... and ... it is this revision which invests them with significance and even with efficacity or pathogenic force." That which undergoes a deferred revision is, in general, "whatever it has been impossible in the first instance to incorporate fully into a meaningful context. The traumatic event is the epitome of such unassimilated experience" (Laplanche and Pontalis, The Language of Psycho-Analysis, pp. 111-112). In these terms, part of what Margaret was unable to assimilate at the time was the violence of her own emotions toward Dick. (37) "Women and Myth in Faulkner's First Novel," p. 182. (38) For a pertinent discussion of Molly's discourse as the "highly condensed vehicle of a whole bundle of unconscious feelings," see Gabriele Schwab, "Mollyloquy," in The Seventh of Joyce, ed. Bernard Benstock (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982), pp. 81-85, 83. One of Molly's lovers, Lieutenant Stanley Gardner (Powers was also a lieutenant) was killed in the Boer War. Like Powers, Gardner is remembered as a young, passionate, phallic figure who, like other men Molly remembers from her youth as "all dead and rotten long ago" (p. 765), awakens memories of intense sexual desire and death: "so I lifted them a bit and touched his trousers outside the way I used to Gardner after with my ring hand to keep him from doing worse [ ... ] (p. 746)."Pretoria and Ladysmith and Bloemfontein where Gardner Lieut Stanley G 8th Bn 2nd East Lancs Rgt of enteric fever he was a lovely fellow in khaki and just the right height over me" (p. 749). (39) Freud, "An Outline of Psychoanalysis," p. 150. (40) T. H. Adamowski, "Joe Christmas: The Tyranny of Childhood," Novel, 3 (1971), 242. (41) John T. Matthews, The Play of Faulkner's Language (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1982), p. 10.
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Author:Zeitlin, Michael
Publication:The Mississippi Quarterly
Date:Jun 22, 1993
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