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Title: The dysfunctional family in contemporary (post-1990) French and American films and novels
Author: Duneton, Noémie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 6282
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis explores a question which runs through contemporary fiction: what is the weight of the family of origin once children have become adults? It does so by examining the families in six different works: Un Conte de Noël by Arnaud Desplechin, Le Skylab by Julie Delpy, Rien ne s'oppose à la nuit by Delphine de Vigan, The Savages by Tamara Jenkins, August: Osage County by John Wells and We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates. My approach in this thesis is pluridisciplinary both in terms of my primary and secondary material. I use films and novels, and, while I rely on traditional film and literary criticism, I also borrow concepts and ideas from psychology, psychoanalysis, sociology, and anthropology. Concepts drawn from these fields shed light on issues and dynamics that might otherwise go unnoticed. Each chapter has a different approach: 'Home' argues that the childhood home is especially significant as the place which physically embodies the family, 'The Reunion' demonstrates how family reunions uncover the family system which characters operate within, 'Meals' offers a reading of family dynamics through an examination of the representation of family meals, while 'Secrets and Traumas' argues that family secrets and traumas affect family dynamics, and offer keys to individual characters' psyche. Throughout the thesis I observe the ways in which families can become dysfunctional, and the effects of these dysfunctions on its members. I do so by exploring themes such as cross-generational transmissions, the relationships which exist between different members of the family, and how the family can be a locus of trauma. The analysis sees two recurring questions emerge: what makes someone part of a family, and whether the family is a 'trap' or a 'refuge'. Throughout these explorations, the question is one of identity: how is one's identity shaped by their family, and is it possible to forego or escape family transmission.
Supervisor: Kemp, Simon ; Marcus, Laura Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Contemporary fiction ; American ; Novel ; Film ; French