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By Stanley H. Cath

First released in 1982. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Sample text

A boy's dilemma is this: To avoid being castrated he may attempt to become womanly and symbolically part with his penis. In so doing, however, he is confronted again with his archaic aspirations to motherhood, having never completely conceded his wish to have children. Consequently, he may be led to identify with the mother's powerful and later 16 The Roots ofFatherhood phallic person as well as with her passive relation to the oedipal father. At all levels he risks a deepened sense of narcissistic injury.

Clearly, then, a family romance was at work, one that not only counteracted oedipal conflicts but also enhanced Freud's narcissistic but no less necessary conviction of his capacity for conquest. No wonder, then, he bypassed the first half of the oedipal myth; Freud was 23 History and Review himself an orphan of sorts, casting about for a science, an ego ideal, and an identity of his own making (see Chap. 3). One can also sense Freud's rebellion against the platitudes of his moralistically oppressive, mystifying culture and his struggle to exhume knowledge buried by consensual and authoritative denial.

And . . overlooked the more hidden fascination with pregnancy and birth .... Certain initiation rites originate in the adolescent's attempts to integrate his envy of the other sex or (conversely) to 12 The Roots of Fathethood adjust to the social role prescribed for his sex and give up pregnancy wishes, and childhood gratifications" (p. 25). " Or male genitals may be lacerated in imitation of menstrual bleeding. In contrast, circumcision is an excision of skin like the labia, an eradication of emblems of feminine trends acceptable only during childhood (Nunberg, 1947; Bird, 1958).

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