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Peter Pan as Fantasy: Defense against Anxiety

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2008, 21(2), pp.77-99
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Choi, Hye Won 1

1연세대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper examines the role of Peter Pan inscribed in J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan or The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up from a psychoanalytic viewpoint. The Lacanian meaning of “fantasy” is a kind of defense mechanism for covering over the lack of the Other. In other words, fantasy is a defense for the unbearable fact that the Other, which has been regarded as totality, or something able to fill the void or lack we have, also has its lack and therefore cannot cover over our lack. Peter Pan, in this sense, represents the anxiety of adults, not the dreams of children. It is the fantasy which simultaneously covers over while reveals the anxiety of (adult) audiences, and also defers and brings about the encounter with the lack they have. It is a defense mechanism against the anxieties of sexuality, death, and origin in a narrow sense, as well as a defense and exposure of the encounter with the real resulting from the lack of subject and the Other in a broad sense. In this sense, Peter Pan is the void signifier, which designates the place of the unsignifiable objet (petit) a, or the phallic signifier used to reveal the lack of the symbolic structure itself.

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