Skinning the Fox: a Masochist’s Delight

  • Claude Sinzelle


Barthes has compared the literary text to an onion with no core, no ultimate secret, but an infinite number of layers.1 Now, if ‘The Fox’2 has already been peeled like an onion, the skin of this animal remains rather puzzling. The heroine refuses to wear it. There is a gap here and this is where ‘the pleasure of the text’, however unwholesome it may be, is to be sought.3


Modern World Good Mother Symbolic Order Oral Regression Iron Breast 
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    Jonathan Culler, Structuralist Poetics (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975) p. 259.Google Scholar
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    Judith Ruderman (“The Fox” and the “Devouring Mother”’, pp. 258–9), refutes Vickery’s arguments using the references to Frazer to support the phallic interpretation. Another source for the fox’s burning tail and the corn might be the Old Testament: Samson, after being betrayed by Delilah, punishes the Philistines by setting fire to the foxes’ tails in order to burn their corn (Judges xv, 4–5).Google Scholar
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© Claude Sinzelle 1989

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  • Claude Sinzelle

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