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in the novel whenever Penderton obtains a clearer insight into his

self and the reality that surrounds him. Naked in raw emotion, he

is compared to a “broken doll” after his sadomasochistic

experience with Firebird (McCullers, 2001c: 355). Literalizing the

fears and fantasies of life-in-death and death-in-life, the doll is a

quintessential epitome of the uncanny. Caught in an uncanny place

between life and death, it unsettles the boundaries necessary for the

establishment of order, convention, and categories. Moreover, a

doll carries a powerful connotation of femininity and impotence.

By identifying with the doll in its “grotesque” form, Penderton

challenges the military’s claims to gender normalcy and its

promotion of a paradigmatic masculinity based on virility,

belligerence, and heroism. The distorted, broken image of the doll

also upsets the logic and integrity of the “normal” body. In other

words, Penderton’s identification with the doll establishes a

resistant, disidentificatory form of identity.

In fact, the “golden eye” of the novel’s title belongs to a

peacock. Frightened by a premonition that she is dying, Alison is

sleepless and stirs the peace of her devoted houseboy Anacleto,

who decides to take his painting and to sit up with the sick woman.

Throwing his unfinished painting into the burning fireplace,

Anacleto stares at the embers of the fire and gushes: “‘A peacock of

a sort of ghastly green. With one immense golden eye. And in it

these reflections of something tiny and

’. . . ‘Grotesque,’ [Alison]

finished for him” (McCullers, 2001c: 366). This “grotesque”

reflection from a peacock’s golden eye is Anacleto’s self-reflection,

which is not unlike the “distorted” doll image that Penderton sees

as his soul-image. Anti-mimetic and anti-essentialist, this grotesque

reflection, as Gleeson-White puts it, “suggests a kaleidoscopic

fluidity and excess, beyond stagnant self-identity” (Gleeson-White,

2003: 56).


In other words, the grotesque is the shared attribute



Unmaking Mimesis

(1997), Elin Diamond, influenced by Derrida and Irigaray,

critiques the phallogocentric tendency in the Platonic model of mimesis or

representation. Mimesis occurs in the process of reflection in which difference is