Andrew G. Christensen deposited “‘Tis my muse will have it so”: Four Dimensions of Scatology in Molloy on MLA Commons 2 weeks, 1 day ago
Writers have long employed scatology for shock value, satire, grotesque humor, and as a stimulus for philosophizing. In Molloy, Samuel Beckett employs scatology not only for satire but as a touchstone in examining the themes of language, creativity, religion, and existentialism. Beckett uses excrement as a metaphor to pursue his theories of language as excess. This leads naturally to the topic of creativity, which psychologists had associated with defecation in the infant mind, and to mythology, where we also find the association with creation. In looking at religion, the scatological can be elevated alchemically through psychology and mythology, or it can be used satirically to bring religion down—Molloy
traverses both paths, scrutinizing Catholicism in particular. Finally, excrement functions in the novel as a leveler, both among humans and of humans, suggesting that much of the sentiment behind the shame, disgust, and evasion of excrement is rooted in existential anxiety.