Journal Article

SCATTERING THE SEED OF ABRAHAM: THE MOTIF OF SACRIFICE IN PAT BARKER'S <i>REGENERATION AND THE GHOST ROAD</i>

Catherine Lanone

in Literature and Theology

Volume 13, issue 3, pages 259-268
Published in print September 1999 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online September 1999 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/13.3.259
SCATTERING THE SEED OF ABRAHAM: THE MOTIF OF SACRIFICE IN PAT BARKER'S REGENERATION AND THE GHOST ROAD

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Pat Barker's historlographic trilogy challenges canonical assumptions about feminine writing Instead of trying to create a purely feminine textual body, as Hélene Cixous would have it, Barker chooses to rewrite the masculine narrative of World War One. Still working within a feminist perspective, she maps the development of hitherto ‘feminine’ symptoms such as hysterical paralysis, nightmares or aphasia, exploring the way masculine identity too is distorted by patriarchal phallocentric demands Barker thus strays from the expected World War One elegy by focusing on the character of the psychologist William Rivers, avoiding direct battle scenes while probing into psychological damage as well as moral and ethical dilemma. A most moving though discreet theme, is the implicit rewriting of the sacrifice of Abraham, as Rivers gradually becomes more vulnerable and loses his faith in his duty. But perhaps the Biblical parallel was to be expected, since Julia Kristeva2 defines psychoanalysis as a gift of love expecting a retribution, just like a prayer, an act of faith.

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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