Women’s Individuation in the Works of Pierrette Fleutiaux
Chapter 3: Negotiating (with) the Mother in Métamorphoses de la reine and Des phrases courtes, ma chérie
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Negotiating (with) the Mother in Métamorphoses de la reine and Des phrases courtes, ma chérie
Est-ce donc moi qui fausse toutes les boussoles lorsque je suis avec ma mère?
Is it me distorting the compass readings when I’m with my mother?
— PIERRETTE FLEUTIAUX1
The question mark over the role of the grandmothers at the end of Allons-nous être heureux? raises the issue of the mother–daughter relationship in the development of the individual woman. As has been demonstrated, the mother–daughter relationships depicted in Le Deuxième sexe II are largely negative,2 with the mother channelling the hopes and desires which she has not been able to fulfil under patriarchy into the lives of her children, or holding back her daughters so that they remain as restricted as herself. Contemporary academic representations of mother–daughter relationships are likewise rather bleak.3 However, Jungian theory allows a more ← 147 | 148 → positive framing of these fraught relationships by suggesting that they are partly the result of unintegrated archetypal projections which entrap the mother and daughter in a complex. This reframing offers the possibility for mothers and daughters to work towards greater understanding and relational harmony.
The tapestry of the mother–daughter relationship is the obvious focus of Des phrases courtes, ma chérie, a text about the death of the nameless narrator’s mother. Yet I will also argue here that a mother...
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