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Volume 12, Number 1 (1987)

Bipolar Paths of Desire: D.C. Scott's Poetic and Narrative Structures

  • Lyle P. Weis
May 22, 2008


Personal ambivalence is a formal strategy in the poetic and narrative work of D.C. Scott. Because he saw his cultural contexts as grounds of vital moral struggle, Scott often depicted his poetic personas or fictional characters as drawn by opposing desires. The result is a recurring pattern, narrative or rhetorical depending upon the genre: a bipolar path of desire. This circular, bipolar path captures symbolically a dynamic moral ambivalence, suggesting, at the same time, a desire to be consumed by the difference that is the Other, and a desire to extend the Self as an informing and ordering presence into the unstructured void of Otherness. In the poems, the Other is often death; in the stories, the Other can be the community, the family, or another individual.