Man is a Puppet, Soul is a Rat: On Pixar’s Ratatouille

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Ratatouille is the Pixar film that seems to have the most imaginative answer to the question, what animates the human being? A small rat hidden under the hat, directing man as a puppet. The marionette as a metaphor for the human being is not new in the Western history of thought, but the rat as a metaphor for the human animus or soul certainly is. From a Lacanian perspective the master chef rat becomes an allegory of the “in-you-more-than-yourself” uniting its two opposite manifestations: excremental and sublime. The article discusses how this interpretation relates to the more obvious theme of the rat as an allegory of the victimized ethnical other. The rat is further understood as a figure who transfers unto the leading male character his father’s desire. Finally the article examines how the film deals with the theme of “love”, partly as something induced by the Parisian setting, partly as the true love story between the rat and the culinary critic, illustrating Lacan’s dictum: “Love is to give something you do not have to someone who does not want it.”
Translated title of the contributionMennesket er en dukke, sjælen er en rotte: Om Pixars Ratatouille
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Engagements: A Journal of Criticism and Theory
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2015

ID: 105309612