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Donoghue, O. (2017). The “Replacement Child”: On Adoption, Haunting, and the Unlived Life. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 18(4):313-317.

(2017). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 18(4):313-317

The “Replacement Child”: On Adoption, Haunting, and the Unlived Life

Olive Donoghue, Ph.D.

What does it mean to live in the shadow of an older sibling’s unlived life? This study draws on notions of haunting, guilt, fantasy, and envy to explore the experience of the “replacement child.” Art Spiegelman’s (1986) Maus tells the story of what it was like to occupy the place of his older brother, who died during the Holocaust. This is intertwined with my own account of adoption and replacement. The dead sibling is perceived as a ghostly presence, shaping the possibilities of who and what the “replacement child” will become.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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