This paper aims to analyse Elena Ferrante’s use of the metaphor of playing with dolls in her novel, La figlia oscura (The Lost Daughter). With a view of shedding a light on this issue, the first part of the paper will review the prominent essays of Sigmund Freud, Ernst Jentsch, Walter Benjamin, Rainer Maria Rilke and Charles Baudelaire that question the nature of playing with dolls in terms of psychology with various focuses. These essays generally agree on the fact that playing with dolls is a strong threshold to come to terms with the self, as well as on the fact that this coming to terms with the self is by nature not guaranteed. The second part will examine Elena Ferrante’s dealing with the problem of playing with dolls and her character’s journey to death and a possible psychological resurrection.
Dolls as metaphors. Elena Ferrante. La figlia oscura. Inanimate objects in literature. Self-rotation.