E. M. Forster's "The Story of the Siren": The Siren as the Ineliminable Residue in the Symbolic


FOREIGN LITERATURE STUDIES, vol.33, no.6, pp.36-43, 2011 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 33 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.36-43
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


E. M. Forster's "The Story of the Siren" is based on the intricate intersection between the pre-discursive (symbolized by the sea) and the discursive elements (symbolized by the earth). This intersection can be taken as an encounter between the representable, the comprehensible and the unrepresentable, the incomprehensible. The Siren in the story as the non-locus of absence emerges from the realm of the nonverbal into the Symbolic; from the repressed of the culture that is the Other or the Real into consciousness of the two brothers. The Siren acts as a metonymic extension of the Real, and the story fictionalizes a reshaping of the world of these characters who experience an encounter with the Real through the Siren. The story seems to explore whether one can completely disembody one's cultural constitution and recapture his/her sense of wholeness experienced in pre-discursive period. This article aims to explore this encounter between the earth and the sea from a Lacanian vantage point against the background of Lacanian ideas on the formation of the subject, the Real and the Symbolic.