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Trio Relationships: Desire, Identity, and Power in Beauvoir's L'Invitee and Truffaut's Jules et Jim

Gardner, Rose Esther (2009) Trio Relationships: Desire, Identity, and Power in Beauvoir's L'Invitee and Truffaut's Jules et Jim. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study focuses on the emergence of two trio relationships during and after the Second World War in France. The first work, a piece of literature written by Simone de Beauvoir in 1943 entitled L'Invitée, illustrates the story of a trio relationship between two women and a man that ends in murder. The second work, a film directed by François Truffaut entitled Jules et Jim, gives the account of another fatalistic trio relationship (however, this time between two men and a woman). In both of these works, the trios become the loci of a reflection on the ways in which the chaos and confusion of war enter into the lives of the individual characters. The asymmetry present in the trio relationships perpetuates violence, and the specific kinds of struggles for power coincide in antagonistic ways as the characters strive to re-invent love. The triangular relationships are observed in relation to three main elements—desire, identity, and power. Chapter one explores how several mechanisms of desire function in relation to crises of identity and the confusion of the individual in French society: this includes an examination of aspects such as marriage, games of seduction and rejection, and platonic conceptions of love and unity that are marked by hostility and destruction. Chapter two examines several ways in which bonding manifests itself in relation to war, male homosexuality, and male homosociality in Truffaut's film. Namely, the chapter explores how two sites of power—one, the physical location of a gymnasium, and the other, the conceptual place of war—illustrate a kind of violence displayed towards women and homosexuals that is made particularly visible through male bonding and several kinds of patriarchal allegiances. Chapter three focuses on the ways in which the "third" body itself in the trio comes to represent a kind of spectacle in Beauvoir's L'Invitée. Through an analysis of scopophilia and voyeurism, the third body becomes the focal point of the characters own fantasies—however, these fantasies carry out and engage in destructive forms of masochism and sadomasochism. The emergence of these two works in France symbolizes a kind of resistance against bourgeois values during mid-century France. Yet, although the two triangular relationships attempt to subvert normative social values that constrain the individual within society—constraints that surround the family unit, love, sexuality, gender roles, homosexuality, and identity—the trios represent instead the symbol of different forms of "loss" in a war-torn France where political upheaval disturbed the nation and the individual.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Gardner, Rose Estherreg12@pitt.eduREG12
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairReeser, Toddreeser@pitt.eduREESER
Committee MemberJouan-Westlund,
Committee MemberMecchia, Giuseppinamecchia@pitt.eduMECCHIA
Committee MemberDemian, Nevinendemian@pitt.eduNDEMIAN
Date: 18 May 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 15 April 2008
Approval Date: 18 May 2009
Submission Date: 15 May 2008
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > French
David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: alienation; allegiances; asymmetry; body; bonding; colonialism; desire; diffracted gaze; double stage; fetish; guerre sociale; homosexuality; homosociality; identity; le regard; love; male gaze; manipulation; marriage; masochism; menage-a-trois; nation; nationalism; possession; power; sadomasochism; scopophilia; seduction; self mutilation; spectacle; the forbidden; the Other; third; translation; triangle; trio; violence; voyeurism; war
Other ID:, etd-05152008-130539
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:44
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:43


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