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Fetishism and Displacement in John Fante's The Road to Los Angeles
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The Road to Los Angeles, the first novel written by Italian-American author John Fante, is most often recognized as a tale concerned with Italian-American alienation, xenophobia and existence on the periphery of mainstream society. This essay, however, aims to analyze the novel from the viewpoint of fetishism. Fetishism, a motif that constitutes a vast theoretical field in itself, will be analyzed using the lens of Freudian theory and more recent works by critics such as Louise J. Kaplan and Johanna Malt. While fetishism unproblematically can be defined as the misdirection of libidinal energy, and the objectification of a sexual object’s seductive powers, this essay also aims to throw light on the intricate nature and general applicability of fetishism.

Fante depicts fetishism as essentially oxymoronic in its presence-absence duality, as instrumental in animating the inanimate and dehumanizing  the sexual object. Fetishism, which in many ways shares an affinity with scopophilia and voyeurism, is essentially semiotic and instrumental in projecting the will onto the external world. Moreover, read through the lens of the inherent death drive, as theorized by Sigmund Freud, manifestations of brutal violence and self-torture are seen as  direct counterparts to fetishism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 19 p.
Keyword [en]
John Fante, The Road to Los Angeles, fetishism, scopophilia, voyeurism, Freud, semiotics
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-78304OAI: diva2:536968
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2014-01-22 Created: 2012-06-25 Last updated: 2014-01-22Bibliographically approved

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