Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To see the German word that Freud used to refer to a concept…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Want to know the exact German word that Freud used to refer to a psychoanalytic concept? Move your mouse over a paragraph while reading The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud and a window will emerge displaying the text in its original German version.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Kline, T.J. (1998). Sling Blade. Psychoanal. Rev., 85(6):938-942.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Review, 85(6):938-942

Sling Blade

T. Jefferson Kline

Any comparison of Billy Bob Thornton's Sling Blade to a European masterwork such as Kieslowski's Red would no doubt at first seem spurious indeed. Set in small-town Arkansas and featuring a protagonist considered by others as retarded, Sling Blade's milieu, pacing, and murderous conclusion would more surely merit grouping with other Southern classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird or even Forrest Gump; yet the intricacy of its patterns and structure make it in many ways more European than Southern.

The film opens in a mental hospital where Karl Childers (Billy Bob Thornton) is being verbally tormented by another inmate, Charles (J. T. Walsh), with salacious stories of his sexual predations. But today Karl is to be released back into a community after 25 years of incarceration. Before his release he agrees to do an “interview,” a long monologue (without a single flashback), for a teenage student doing a story for her school paper. Karl recounts how he had lived “in a little old shed most of my life out behind my mother and father's house.” One evening, he had discovered his mother “layin’ on the floor without any clothes on … and Jesse Dixon, a layin’ on top of her having his way with her. Well, I just seen red,” Karl recounts. “I picked up a Kaiser blade that was a layin' there by the screen door, some folks call it a sling blade, I call it a Kaiser blade … and I hit Jesse Dixon up side the head with it.” Discovering that his mother was enjoying this adulterous moment, Karl recounts, “I takened the Kaiser blade, some folks calls it a sling blade, I call it a Kaiser blade, and hit my mother up side the head with it an' killed her …” (Thornton, 1996, pp. 15-16).

Upon release, Karl befriends a young boy, Frank Wheatley (Lucas Black), and his mother, Linda (Natalie Canerday), and lands a job with a local mechanic. At Frank's insistence, Linda invites Karl to live in their garage. Karl soon discovers that Linda and Frank are helpless victims of Linda's boyfriend, Doyle, and his violent drunken binges.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.