"Blue Places on the Maps" and Death, Loss and Dreams : Helene Cixous and Writing Theory

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Susan Ash


This narrative and essay attempt to deal with the connections; between death, loss, dreams and writing and the unconscious; mind. "Blue Places on the Maps" is the story of a mother and daughter, who, in the words of Erica Jong, "are torn, as most of us are torn, between the past and the future." The narrative focuses on the impact of loss on the lives of the central characters, and the strategies they use to come to terms with their losses. The title reflects the recurrent use of water imagery which is used to represent, among other things, the idea of submersion. Dreams are an important motif, through which the characters' losses and desires are revealed. They are also the means by which they delve into their unconscious in order to reclaim what they have lost. In the essay that follows, I demonstrate how Helene Cixous' musings on the writing process served as a springboard for the narrative. In the text Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing, Cixous explores the connection between death, and other kinds of loss, and writing. Cixous draws on Lacanian Psychoanalytic theory to show how separation leads to the acquisition of language and is thus essential to writing. In addition, she cites dreams as an important inspiration and a means of bringing what has been repressed back to the surface of consciousness.

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