The Whore and Her Mother: Exploring Matrophobia in Nelly Arcan’s Putain

The Whore and Her Mother: Exploring Matrophobia in Nelly Arcan’s Putain

The Whore and Her Mother: Exploring Matrophobia in Nelly Arcan’s Putain

The Whore and Her Mother: Exploring Matrophobia in Nelly Arcan’s Putains

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Référence bibliographique [21172]

Henry-Tierney, Pauline. 2019. «The Whore and Her Mother: Exploring Matrophobia in Nelly Arcan’s Putain». Dans Horrible Mothers: Representations across Francophone North America , sous la dir. de Loïc Bourdeau, p. 23-40. Lincoln (Nebraska): University of Nebraska Press.

Fiche synthèse

1. Objectifs


Intentions :
In this study, author explores the feelings of matrophobia in a Nelly Arcan’s novel. She analyzes «the specific interactions Arcan textually maps out between matrophobia, sexuality, and corporeality and their resultant implications for our understanding of maternal relations.» (p. 24)

2. Méthode


Échantillon/Matériau :
Author uses the Quebecoise writer Nelly Arcan’s autofictional novel, Putain (2001). She also draws «upon maternal feminist theorist Adrienne Rich’s elaboration of matrophobia and Simone de Beauvoir’s critique of the phenomenological socialization of maternity […].» (p. 24)

Type de traitement des données :
Analyse littéraire

3. Résumé


«In conclusion, as Arcan’s elaboration of matrophobia in Putain shows, not only is the phobia indicative of the complex dynamics at stake in mother-daughter relations, but more widely, the roots of matrophobia are revelatory of the specific positions women occupy within society. As Arcan’s narrator enumerates, matrophobia exists because of the reification of specific images of women through narratives such as fairy tales that circulate within Western culture. From the impassive Sleeping Beauty to the grotesque witch, matrophobia germinates in response to the tropes that have been configured to depict women. Furthermore, the narrator’s matrophobic angst surrounding her own “destin de larve,” with its implications of a decline in sexual desirability and the incumbent social alienation, points to probing questions Arcan is implicitly posing regarding the place and status we assign ageing women within society. Similarly, her evocation of the corporeal matrophobia raises pertinent issues concerning the ways in which the female body is qualified in contemporary society. […] Finally, Arcan’s resolution to matrophobia resides in the tenets of sex and death. Although such measures may seem drastic, Arcan considers these two practices as the sole precepts to challenge phallic order.» (p. 36)