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Film NationHollywood Looks at U.S. History, Revised Edition$
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Robert Burgoyne

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780816642915

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816642915.001.0001

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National Identity, Gender Identity, and the Rescue Fantasy in Born on the Fourth of July

National Identity, Gender Identity, and the Rescue Fantasy in Born on the Fourth of July

Chapter:
(p.57) 3 National Identity, Gender Identity, and the Rescue Fantasy in Born on the Fourth of July
Source:
Film Nation
Author(s):

Robert Burgoyne

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816642915.003.0004

This chapter studies the film Born on the Fourth of July as a complicated variant of what Susan Jeffords calls “the remasculinization of America.” The film links the symbolism of nationalism to the iconography of gender in an explicit way, which evaluates the failure of masculinist national ideals in the Vietnam period, offering an alternative image of nation based on metaphor of a maternal, social body America. However, it restores the privileged place of the male hero by appealing to another cultural paradigm that Freud calls “the rescue fantasy,” in which the male hero gains authority by “rescuing” the nation, presented as a woman, from its own weakness.

Keywords:   Born on the Fourth of July, remasculinization of America, nationalism, masculinist national ideals, Vietnam War, America, rescue fantasy

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