Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Justine Van Meter
This dissertation will explore the way Philip treats puppets and masks as pseudo-sacred objects in order to maintain control in Angela Carter’s work The Magic Toyshop. To show the implications of the pseudo-sacred, I will use Violence and the Sacred by Rene Girard that examines the way primitive cultures are able to maintain order through particular religious beliefs and collective violence against a scapegoat. My critical reading of the text will look closely at how Philip uses the pseudo-sacred to build up the community. When the pseudo-sacred is finally called into question the community is threatened. Although Philip attempts to deflect blame onto the scapegoat Melanie, he fails as there is no social buy-in, leading to the destruction of the community. While the house is burned down destroying the puppets and masks, presumably along with Philip, the pseudo-sacred still has the chance of being perpetuated through Finn’s own obsession with power and control.
Chalfant, Victor, "The Ritualization of Violence in The Magic Toyshop" (2016). English Theses. 1.