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Écrire la relation père-fils dans Affliction de Russell Banks

Abstract : The fear of reproducing one’s family pattern is a recurring theme in Banks’s works. The notion of filiation is thus central in his novel Affliction, in which the narrator Rolfe Whitehouse evokes the tense relationship between his brother Wade and their father Glenn, a violent man, both physically and verbally, who has traumatized him since childhood. Wade is obsessed with the idea of being a good father to his daughter Jill, but he ends up making the same mistakes as his ancestors by becoming in his turn a violent alcoholic. The systematic use of the third person throughout the text underlines the ambiguity of the narrator, who talks about the members of his family but keeps them at a distance, and who does not interfere (at first sight, anyway) in the Oedipal conflict opposing Wade and Glenn, which ends in parricide. In fact Rolfe, who is a historian, tries to be objective. Telling us about Wade’s trauma notably allows him to develop his naturalistic ideas on heredity and the influence of environment on man. But by turning Wade into an alter ego, the narrator is actually telling the story of his own traumatic filiation obliquely. Just like Banks himself, he seems to be trying to sublimate this trauma thanks to his writing.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01716199
Contributor : Marine Paquereau <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 5:26:24 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, November 1, 2018 - 1:16:10 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Monday, May 28, 2018 - 2:19:00 PM

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Marine Paquereau. Écrire la relation père-fils dans Affliction de Russell Banks. Le créateur et ses figures parentales, 3, https://preo.u-bourgogne.fr/filiations/index.php?id=122, 2014, Collection "Filiations". ⟨halshs-01716199⟩

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