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Clint Eastwood and Issues of American Masculinity$
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Drucilla Cornell

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780823230129

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823230129.001.0001

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Psychic Scars: Transformative Relationships and Moral Repair

Psychic Scars: Transformative Relationships and Moral Repair

(p.95) 4 Psychic Scars: Transformative Relationships and Moral Repair
Clint Eastwood and Issues of American Masculinity

Drucilla Cornell

Fordham University Press

This chapter considers a series of films in which Eastwood deals more directly with the complex issues at the heart of moral repair: A Perfect World (1993), Absolute Power (1997), and Million Dollar Baby (2004). Certainly in Absolute Power and Million Dollar Baby the theme of failed fatherhood is grappled with explicitly. Yet what makes these movies so interesting is that the failure here is not portrayed in any simple way as a man's inadequacy before traditional Oedipal complementarity. The Eastwood model is the opposite from the stereotypic good father who knows best; he is a father who is desperate to restore some sort of relationship with his female children by admitting to his failure and apologizing for it. In a sense, these fathers are admitting symbolic castration as part of what it means to be ethical men and, yes, fathers who might even be able to find ways to reconnect with their daughters.

Keywords:   Clint Eastwood, masculinity, fathers, daughters, A Perfect World, Million Dollar Baby, Absolute Power

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