Fighting like a wildcat: A deep hermeneutic interpretation of The Jack-Roller

  • Bereswill M
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Abstract

This article draws upon a hermeneutic tradition of interpreting a cultural testimony like The Jack-Roller, and the text is revealed from a psychoanalytically inspired perspective. The unconscious meaning of the text is approached through the reader’s irritations and reactions to the tale by a method that is called ‘scenic understanding’. Finally we see different passages or scenes throughout the narrative being connected via a basic conflict in Stanley’s life: his struggle for social recognition as a man and his longing for love and care as a child overlap in the ambivalent position of perpetrator and victim. This is related to a not-yet-contained experience of loss and mourning which fundamentally structures what Shaw calls Stanley’s ‘self- justificatory attitude’.

Author-supplied keywords

  • gender identity
  • hermeneutic interpretation
  • psychoanalysis and cultural critique
  • researcher subjectivity

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Authors

  • Mechthild Bereswill

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