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As all of these films indicate, the father figures of the past have no place in a postpatriarchal world. In the violent deaths and demonic possessions that claim the fathers, and in the horrific, often unresolved endings of so many of the films, there is no sense that life will or can go on as it has before; the traditional nuclear family is irreparably broken. Patriarchy cannot be absolved of the sins of the past; the wounds are too deep. Yet the twenty-first-century man is still trapped in a world ruled by bourgeois expectations: both toward traditional fatherhood and toward traditional manhood, norms that can be competing rather than complementary. This accounts for the fear of being average that motivates characters like Malcolm, Tom, Josh, Ellison, and Jeffrey, which is linked in each case with alienation from or desire to be free of the family, to reclaim a lost youth or vitality, to embody the lone hero version of the masculine ideal.
KeywordsNuclear Family Symbolic Order Father Figure Masculine Ideal Sixth Sense
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