Beyond Matricide: Maternal Subjectivity, Patriarchy, and Chaos Theory in Fiona Kidman’s Ricochet Baby

Doreen D’CruzMassey University
Vol. 39, No. 2 (Fall 2020), 261-28

This article analyses New Zealand author Fiona Kidman’s novel, Ricochet Baby (1996) in order to demonstrate its subversive narrative recovery of maternal subjectivity and agency through the metafictional process that installs the mother as author. The novel thus disestablishes the symbolic matricide that is congruent with the negation of maternity and which is the foundational fantasy that sustains the linear, deter- ministic structure of patriarchy. Kidman relies on a double strategy that at once exhumes the maternal voice, anchoring it within its own set of signifiers, and traces the gradual weakening of the internal cogency of patriarchy. For the latter project, Kidman draws upon the resources of chaos theory. This article thus situates its analysis in the contexts derived from feminist theory and, to a lesser extent, chaos theory.


Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]