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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre$
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James Rose

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781906733643

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906733643.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

The Family

The Family

(p.69) The Family
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

James Rose

Liverpool University Press

This chapter focuses on the dynamics of Leatherface's family in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). From the point at which Cook first sees Hitchhiker in the headlights, a family structure is implied and, to a certain extent, played out during the climatic scenes of Sally Hardesty's torture: Cook has taken on the role of the father who goes out to work to earn money for his family, Hitchhiker is the wayward teenager who refuses to do as he is told, while Leatherface is the mother who is stuck in the kitchen and subject to some domestic abuse from her ‘husband’ Cook. Such a dynamic suggests a patriarchal power structure within this family of cannibals. While this power structure is evident during Cook's arrival at the family home, it slowly starts to shift when the family begins their torture of Sally. For the most part, Cook seems simultaneously to be horrified by the acts being committed at the same time as appearing to enjoy them.

Keywords:   Leatherface, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Cook, Hitchhiker, family structure, Sally Hardesty, torture, patriarchal power structure, cannibals

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