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Faulkner's Sexualities$
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Annette Trefzer and Ann J. Abadie

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781604735604

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604735604.001.0001

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Temple Drake’s Rape and the Myth of the Willing Victim

Temple Drake’s Rape and the Myth of the Willing Victim

(p.164) Temple Drake’s Rape and the Myth of the Willing Victim
Faulkner's Sexualities

Caroline Garnier

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines representations of sexuality in William Faulkner’s 1931 novel Sanctuary, focusing on the patriarchal context in which sexual subjects are constructed in Faulkner’s culture and fiction. It interprets the main protagonist’s sexual practices as “a powerful tool” to subdue, silence, and objectify the girl he desires. The chapter considers Sanctuary and another Faulkner novel, As I Lay Dying (1930), as “different aspects of a Southern sexual culture” and argues that they both highlight various forms of sexual abuse as well as the female characters’ resulting experience of psychic trauma. It explores and challenges those readings that characterize the girl in Sanctuary as the one who instigated her own rape. Drawing on psychiatric studies on sexual trauma and trauma neurosis, the chapter explains the girl’s behavior in the courtroom in relation to the structure of white male paternalism.

Keywords:   sexuality, William Faulkner, Sanctuary, I Lay Dying, sexual culture, sexual abuse, sexual trauma, neurosis, paternalism, rape

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