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Extra resources for Ernest Hemingway: Machismo and Masochism

Example text

He does of course need a special “nature” in the woman torturer, but he needs to mold this nature, to educate and persuade it in accord with his special project, which could never be fulfilled with a sadistic woman. . We tend to ignore this obvious difference. The woman torturer of masochism cannot be sadistic precisely because she is in the masochistic situation, she is an integral part of it, a realization of the masochistic fantasy. (40–41) The “special ‘nature’ in the woman torturer” represents not sadism but empathy, a quality found throughout Hemingway’s work.

17 This imagining reflects what Deleuze sees as the aesthetic quality in masochism that is totally absent in sadism and he continually points to the deep flaw in Freud’s conception of sadism and masochism as complementary. Deleuze believes that the linkage of sadism and masochism functions as a result of “pre-Freudian thinking which relied on hasty assimilations and faulty etiological interpretations that psychoanalysis merely helped to make more convincing, instead of questioning their reality” (133).

Yet Hemingway’s work consistently undermines the phallic signifier. Savran, whose agenda is ostensibly progressive, finds in male masochism a reactionary psychosis. He suggests that gay men and lesbians suffer from the supposed ascendancy of this chimerical, heterosexual, “reflexive” sadomasochistic construction (236). This view privileges the position of gay men and lesbians without giving any consideration to heterosexual male masochism, which has been likewise reviled, if not to the same extent, 44 Ernest Hemingway for at least a century.

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