Wild Child: Intensive Parenting and Posthumanist Ethics
University of Minnesota Press, 2018
Cloth: 978-1-5179-0378-7 | Paper: 978-1-5179-0379-4
Library of Congress Classification PN56.P255M67 2018
Dewey Decimal Classification 809.39354
ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | REVIEWS | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Exploring how the figure of the “wild child” in contemporary fiction grapples with contemporary cultural anxieties about reproductive ethics and the future of humanity
In Wild Child, Naomi Morgenstern explores depictions of children and their adult caregivers in extreme situations—ranging from the violence of slavery and sexual captivity to accidental death, mass murder, torture, and global apocalypse—in such works as Toni Morrison’s A Mercy, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin, Emma Donoghue’s Room, and Denis Villeneuve’s film Prisoners. Morgenstern shows how, in such narratives, “wild” children function as symptoms of new ethical crises and existential fears raised by transformations in the technology and politics of reproduction and by increased ethical questions about the very decision to reproduce. In the face of an uncertain future that no longer confirms the confidence of patriarchal humanism, such narratives displace or project present-day apprehensions about maternal sacrifice and paternal protection onto the wildness of children in a series of hyperbolically violent scenes.
Urgent and engaging, Wild Child offers the only extended consideration of how twenty-first-century fiction has begun to imagine the decision to reproduce and the ethical challenges of posthumanist parenting.
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