• “If ever there was someone to keep me at home”: Theorizing screen representations of siblinghood through a case study of Into the Wild (2007)

      Barnett, Katie; University of Chester
      Images of siblings pervade the screen, yet their representation remains under-explored. Though sibling relationships are common, these lateral bonds are often overlooked in favor of the vertical bonds privileged by Freudian psychoanalysis. Into the Wild (dir. Sean Penn 2007), though ostensibly focused on the solitary journey of its protagonist, Chris McCandless, can be read as a narrative of siblinghood and here serves as a case study for exploring ways of theorizing the sibling relationship on screen. Often, there is an inherent anxiety embedded within representations of close adult bonds between brothers and sisters, resulting in frequent on-screen separation. Though Chris and his sister Carine are similarly separated for the majority of the film, their relationship is foregrounded by framing Chris’s story through Carine’s re-telling. Here, the sibling pair may be better understood through the prism of modern discourses of the soulmate, emphasizing the value of knowledge to the sibling relationship and looking beyond the vertical to consider how lateral bonds might be excavated from the edges of the screen.