In the Arms of Canada, the Uncanny Mother: A Freudian Reading of Richard Ford’s Canada

Document Type : Original Article


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This article intends to explore the potential traces of Freudian Oedipus complex in Richard Ford’s large novel, Canada (2012), with a particular focus on its protagonist, Dell Parsons, and examining the existence of a potential Oedipus complex in him and in the way Dell’s mother, Neeva Kemper, protects him in the absence of a father figure. Although Freud necessitates a certain type of animosity and a particular degree of feasible violence between the father and the son to actualise an expected kind of Oedipus complex, this paper hopes to show the fact that Dell Parsons and his connection with his mother prove to be different from the standard principles and codes of a regular Oedipus complex since not only the mother plays her protective role without a clash between the father and the son, but also she herself is replaced by three to four other mother-figure substitutes which embrace and harbour Dell Parsons just like an actual mother leading to the ultimate, grand, uncanny one: Canada. Therefore, corresponding to the satisfaction of mother figure with phallus desire and reaching a consequently ultimate gratification, this article follows a relatively distinctive, symbolic version of literary example of Freudian Oedipus complex in Ford’s Canada.