ABSTRACT

Quentin Tarantino’s film Death Proof deals with themes similar to those seen in D. W. Winnicott’s theory of trauma and, accordingly, apotemnophilia and Phantom Limb Syndrome. This chapter considers how the protagonist—Stuntman Mike—represents the primitive agony and fracture that haunts the traumatised subject in Winnicott’s model, and how the women in the first half of the film represent the traumatised subject. It also considers how the car accident in the middle of the film parallels D. W Winnicott’s concept of the breakdown that occurs in therapy, and how the second half of the film exemplifies his notion of healthy independence which is sought out through psychoanalysis. The chapter explores how the film represents and embodies a transitional space, reflective of the mirror-box. A poetic or literary lack of cohesion may provide a partially fictional space for a reader to experience a sense of rupture, thereby reflective of the transitional object or maternal holding.