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"You Freud, Me Jane?" The Representation of Trauma and Asexuality in Hitchcock's Marnie

Witsenburg, Amber

The title character of Hitchcock’s film Marnie (1964) has previously been interpreted as a repressed heterosexual or a closeted lesbian. However, as this paper will argue, it is more logical to read her as asexual. Interpreting her character as such, it becomes clear that the film presents a discursive framework based on compulsory sexuality. Most notably, Marnie’s lack of interest in sex is seen as a symptom of a childhood trauma, rather than as a sexual orientation in itself. This paper will therefore explore how the film links asexuality to trauma by means of the concept of repression, and thus deconstruct compulsory sexuality as the film presents it.

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