Remittances Review

ISSN:2059-6588 | e-ISSN: 2059-6596

ISSN:2059-6588 | e-ISSN: 2059-6596

An Exploration of the Self: A Lacanian Study of Douglas Stuart's Novel Shuggie Bain

Umar Akbar , Amjad Hussain , Muhammad Ijaz , Farah Iqbal
The mirror stage, The symbolic stage, Fragmentation, Alienation, Mother-son Relationship. ,


This research delves into the complexities of self-formation and identity in Douglas Stuart's novel, Shuggie Bain, through the lens of Jacques Lacan's Mirror Stage theory. Lacan's theory posits that the self is constituted through the mirror stage, where an individual misrecognizes his reflection as a unified whole, leading to a lifelong quest for cohesion and a fragmented sense of self. Stuart's character, Shuggie, an effeminate boy, embodies this quest as he navigates the intricate web of gender, sexuality, and societal expectations. He strives to become a normal boy but ends up falling into his trap.  He mimics the image of his mother, an alcoholic, divorced and an unhappy woman, and develops an unstable self. His experiences illustrate the Imaginary realm, where the self is shaped by external reflections and misrecognitions, highlighting the tensions between the fragmented self and the illusory unity of the mirror stage. This research offers a nuanced exploration of Lacan's theory, demonstrating how Stuart's work enacts the struggles of self-formation and the search for identity. By examining the ways in which Shuggie negotiates his sense of self, this study reveals the ways in which literature can illuminate the complexities of human experience and its representation in contemporary literature. Through a critical analysis of Stuart's novel, this research contributes to a deeper understanding of the intersections between psychoanalytic theory, literary representation, and the human experience, offering insights into the ways in which we shape our perceptions of self and identity. Ultimately, this study highlights the significance of Lacan's Mirror Stage theory in understanding the complexities of self-formation and identity in contemporary literature.