• THE ILLUSIONS OF PHALLIC AGENCY Invisible Man, Totem and Taboo, and the Santa Claus Surprise

    Author(s):
    Doug Steward (see profile)
    Date:
    2003
    Group(s):
    LLC African American
    Item Type:
    Article
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6MW2F
    Abstract:
    For the narrator of Invisible Man, the abjection of women and homosexuals operates at first as a discursive strategy for making the black male’s position more subjectively endurable, but the narrator must eventually confront this discursive strategy as an illusion of hetero-phallic agency, since he continually fails to acquire the sorts of instrumentalities of power associated with directly political speech. In the end, he recognizes possession of the phallus as a myth on the order of Santa Claus and opts for a more obviously representational, but less obviously political, discourse: his narrative. If we are to take the novel itself as the evidence of the invisible man’s agency, though, then this agency is entirely representational: it acts in and on the world only as a shifty fiction, a tricky Word.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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