On Fathers & Daughters

One of the most pervasive ideas that seem to come about in the narratives in Spectacle is that of the father-daughter dynamic. We touched upon the portrayal of gender and gender roles, the multiple instances in which presumably female narrators find themselves wanting to be “that guy” or some other male form (This to say they desire to be the exact opposite of who they believe themselves to be.) Although I had some subconscious awareness of the absence of a father figure (or at least one that fulfills the emotional criterion of what it means to be a father). I took more note of this interesting dynamic in “Signifier”, when the narrator is describing “when I send words to…the the tops of the trees, by which I mean stars…It was [a] father [who taught me], of course I remember” (49-50). The phrase “a father” is used a few times in describing this ritual, but this instance caught my interest not only for its word choice, but for its implications in light of the narrator’s actions that follow. Clearly, she resents her father, but what she seems to resent more in retrospect is the way she learned to garner his affection (if not from him, then from his “ladies”) by being a charming “pretty little thing”. Unlike the narrator(s) of the other stories, I did not have a sense that she desired to become a masculine antithesis of herself, but rather that she had reduced herself to an object in the eyes of other men in order to garner some form of affection.

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