Washed in Blood: Male Sacrifice, Trauma and the Cinema (Paperback)Claire Sisco King (author)
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Will Smith in I Am Legend. Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic. Charlton Heston in just about everything.
Viewers of Hollywood action films are no doubt familiar with the sacrificial victim-hero, the male protagonist who nobly gives up his life so that others may be saved. Washed in Blood argues that such sacrificial films are especially prominent in eras when the nation-and American manhood-is thought to be in crisis. The sacrificial victim-hero, continually imperiled and frequently exhibiting classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, thus bears the trauma of the nation.
Claire Sisco King offers an in-depth study of three prominent cycles of Hollywood films that follow the sacrificial narrative: the early-to-mid 1970s, the mid-to-late 1990s, and the mid-to-late 2000s. From Vietnam-era disaster movies to post-9/11 apocalyptic thrillers, she examines how each film represents traumatized American masculinity and national identity. What she uncovers is a cinematic tendency to position straight white men as America's most valuable citizens-and its noblest victims.
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 425 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
"This is a timely book that alerts readers to the dangers of masculinist sacrificial films--seemingly innocuous entertainment fare. King deals with the complex logics of trauma, sacrifice, and cinema, analyzing films that at once indulge audiences with the experience of vicarious trauma and suggest the problematic possibility of leaving traumatic injury behind."--E. Ann Kaplan "author Trauma Culture: The Politics of Terror and Loss in Media and Literature "
"A beautifully rendered and insightful analysis of a major strand within contemporary American films. Washed in Blood is an important work that sheds light on the complex interrelationship between masculinity, national culture, and trauma."
--Rhetoric and Public Affairs
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