The Anatomical Zoom in Kathy Acker’s “Great Expectations” and Great Expectations

Document Type : Original Article


Department of English Language and Literature, Central Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


Kathy Acker’s “Great Expectations” (1982) and its namesake novel, Great Expectations (1982) are saturated with pornographic scenes. By focusing on Jean Baudrillard’s theories of sex and pornographic simulation, the present study aims to highlight the significance of sex scenes. Baudrillard claims that pornography, by adding a dimension to the space of sex, makes it more real than the real. In other words, subsequent to the excess of reality, the real sex is disappeared, or replaced by the hyperreal. This is what Baudrillard calls pornographic simulation of sex and Acker’s portrays this form of simulation in her stories. She represents the scenario of sex through her characters’ psychic mise-en-scѐne. The text, as a representation of that mise-en-scѐne, replete with the signs of sex, including the descriptions of the naked bodies of women and men, the sexual intercourse, and all the details of sexual acts. The signs are the result of the characters’ obsession with sex, its death, and their demand for its survival.