Friday, September 19, 2014

Sobchack's "Bringing It All Back Home"

Bringing It All Back Home: Family Economy and Generic Exchange
By Vivian Sobchack
Sobchack explores the figure of the child in films, using it to compare the genres of horror, science fiction, and family melodrama. She looks in particular at the child in Rosemary's Baby and the starchild at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey. She argues that the nuclear family is no longer a place of protection from social upheavals but the site of them. All three genres she examines test the limits of the family in patriarchal culture.Children in horror films are often Others, not their fathers' children. This can lead to fathers becoming monstrous when they are forced to deal with their monstrous children. She suggests the repressed in the horror film is no longer the one with too much power, knowledge, or sexual desire, but the repressed patriarchal hatred, fear, and self-loathing. As patriarchy is increasingly challenged, patriarchal rage increases. The only resolution patriarchy has in any of these films is denial of the future of patriarchy or death.

One thing I'm not sure of in this article (and this is something that has been mentioned in other articles as well) is the idea that trouble in the nuclear family is relatively new (keeping in mind that most of the articles I've blogged about have been written between around the 1980's). I would think that familial upheaval has always been an issue. This may require further research. In any case, this article is interesting in that it looks at the topic of patriarchal rage as being caused by children, and in particular "monstrous" children.

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