Who is Amanda Knox? From what shadows does she emerge?
How odd, that one can ponder over the accused, as though they are a mystery to be solved, or a lock to be picked, and in the end, feel that one is unravelling part of one's own personal mystery. The human psyche has its recessess, its myriad secret places. All experience is stored, as in Peakian theory: We are condemned to repetition. Odd, the little particulars that haunt us, the random details of a case, when we are questing in this way. For me, it is this: In Amanda's email home to family and friends (subject line: "Update") she describes the last time she saw her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, alive : Meredith had come out of the shower, with her Halloween costume makeup (she had dressed as a Vampire) still on, "her mouth still dripping blood". Did this image set off something in Amanda; did it act as symbol, cipher, to something else: a siren call to madness and murder?
Surely, in Freudian theory, repressed contents of the unconsious are bound to return: In dreams, in slips of the tongue, in psychotic breaks. Was this a subtext for Amanda, something she took as a challenge, an invitation, or a subconscious confession to dark feelings on the part of her soon to be victim? It is a chilling thought. One wonders how large a part this may have played, this innocuous and innocent mistake on the part of poor Meredith: the failure to remove her makeup. She could not have known she was dealing with the abyss: In Amanda, she had unknowingly encountered the rim of nightmare.
From what dark shadows of her generation's exposure to mayhem did Amanda emerge? The shadows of public crime, excessive sexual images, media and technological frenzy, divorce, television violence, substance abuse and boundless ego feeding frenzy in the dizzying array of our vast national landscape, the cartoonish vast spaces of shopping malls and highways which string our states together like so many sites on the web of the internet. Throughout their teen years, the war in Iraq raged on and America's Amandas remained untouched by it : for the most part oblivious to its meanings: Or does violence creep into the collective psyche by a kind of osmosis: Is national stance transferred by degrees, until even individuals are tainted by the dilemma the homeland find itself in?
This archetypal American girl, who played soccer and made good grades and worked hard for a trip abroad: Now accused of sexual torture and throat slashing homicide of another female: One her own age and from her own relative milieu.
Earnest Jones wrote one of the greatest treatise on the Oedipal complex of the 20th century: His study of Hamlet and the violence which issued forth from a wholesome youth, bound up with a suffocating mother, in a double bind of repulsion and dependence. Can this be the realm even which produces the damning act of an Amanda Knox?
'Tis now the very witching time of night. . . when churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes forth contagion to this world. . . Now could I drink hot blood, and do such bitter business as the day would quake to look on. 'Soft, now to my mother.