AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

Caution – ideological mechanisms at work : interpellation and the melancholic turn in Jack Kerouac's On the Road and Ernest Hemingway's The Garden of Eden

by Jessica D. Travers

Institution: Oregon State University
Department: English
Degree: MA
Year: 2012
Keywords: Kerouac; Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969. On the road  – Criticism, Textual
Record ID: 1945457
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1957/35610


In this thesis I examine the ideological mechanisms that work to constitute, construct, and maintain subject identity. Such mechanisms include repetition, performativity, identification, and interpellation. I incorporate structuralist, post-structuralist, and psychoanalytic theories as a means to discuss the ways in which gender, sexuality, and identity are performative masquerades. Furthermore, these ideological mechanisms and heteronormative paradigms have the paradoxical power to produce both incurable melancholia and unrealized possibilities alike. Given this conversation, I turn to theorists such as Louis Althusser, Slavoj Žižek, and Judith Butler; these theorists employ different theoretical approaches and consequently their explanations regarding how and why identity is manufactured frequently differ. From this productive point of difference, I apply the theories to a literary analysis of Jack Kerouac's On the Road and Ernest Hemingway's The Garden of Eden. Paired together, the critical theories and literary works act to complicate and nuance each other, and collectively introduce valuable insights regarding who or what is subject.