4 1 31-49 2015

Impressions and Transformations: A Psychoanalytic Study of the Effects of Early Linguistic Disruptions, Emotional Trauma, and of Testimony through the Study of Oscar Hijuelos’ Thoughts without Cigarettes

Fernanda Carrá-Salsberg


This article takes a psychoanalytic approach to the analysis of Oscar Hijuelos’ Thoughts without Cigarettes. Hijuelos’ memoir is studied for the manner in which offers illustrations of the developmental significance of language and of the psycho-emotional and social effects that stem from its abrupt cessation. My work examines the significance of memory, as well as the transformative effects of writing: It is a look into the way in which this late writer’s narrative conceals the paradox that embraced the affective relation he held with his first and later objects of affection, as well as with his first and second tongue. This paper studies how life-long narratives are of much significance to academics and professionals interested in the area of language and psychoanalysis. Through the analysis of Oscar Hijuelos’ memoir I highlight the manner in which written testimonials often unveil writers’ known and unknown histories of object-relations, introjections, projections, transferences, repetitions and need for reparation. Equally important, this article considers the manner in which Hijuelos’ testimonials became the medium through which he articulated the perceptions of his experiences, and how such articulation created a space for him to eventually understand, transform and even attempt to heal from the dislocations and internal void that shaped and reshaped his hidden drives, life long needs and translingual subjectivity. 

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7565/landp.2015.002


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