Compromise Formations: Current Directions in Psychoanalytic Criticism

By Vera J. Camden | Go to book overview

The Go-Between Child:
Supplementing the Lack

Virginia L. Blum

Jacques Lacan observes that "in the case of the speaking being the relation between the sexes does not take place" ("God" 138). Heterosexuality strives to make two into one, denying the intersubjective "relational" experience; furthermore, what there is to speak of is phallocentric, premised only on the male position. There is no relation because only one sex is articulated and a relation necessarily denotes more than one.

Then what of the child produced by this "union," this nonrelation? Typically obscure, Lacan philosophizes that "There is something of One," which he goes on to explain "is set forth in [Freud's] concept of Eros, defined as a fusion making one out of two, that is of Eros seen as the gradual tendency to make one out of a vast multitude" ("God" 138). Yet isn't the "something" derived from the two-become-one very specifically (literally) the child-representative of the sexual fantasy? Isn't the child in fact installed in the space fantasy has veiled, a space that is paradoxically disavowed? We might say that like Aphrodite, the child springs from the oceanic landscape of love where identities merge and dissolve, the very desubjectifying condition of love engendering love's subject.

The child is supplementary in the sense that it adds to the sexual relation ; a third party joins the parental couple. Yet, in an ironic twist the "supplement" subtracts as well, in a single stroke effacing both itself and the duality of the parents. Even though the child appears as an emblem of the parental unity, it is an emblem that has to be cast out from the sexual scene the moment it appears. This is because the child neces

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