Dialectic of Male Desire in James Joyce’s Exiles

Saman Zoleikhaei, Shideh Ahmadzadeh


The current study aims to investigate James Joyce’s Exiles in light of Jacques Lacan’s theory of desire. Richard Rowan and Robert Hand as the major male characters of the play are involved with intersubjective relationships, the motor force behind which is language and its constitutive lack. Facing lack in the Symbolic order on account of language, they take recourse to desire to find object petit a. Being in a mutual relationship, object petit a fuels desire which makes the subjects establish their identity in accordance with the Other’s desire. What they seek and need is the Other’s desire to give meaning to their otherwise fruitless quest in life. Richard and Robert seek diverse object petit a’s, representative of their goals and ideals in life, to re-fill their lack. Being caught up in the same metonymical deferral of desire, they seek other surrogates throughout the play. This metonymical tendency to seek the Other’s desire paves the ground for the reproduction of desire through fantasy.


Desire, Object petit a, Other, Lack, Fantasy

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.8n.3p.62


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