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Tarbox, R. (1973). Exhaustion Psychology and Sartre's The Age of Reason: Introduction. Some characteristics of Scream-Boomerang-Exhaustion (SBE) Literature. Am. Imago, 30(1):80-96.

(1973). American Imago, 30(1):80-96

Exhaustion Psychology and Sartre's The Age of Reason: Introduction. Some characteristics of Scream-Boomerang-Exhaustion (SBE) Literature

Raymond Tarbox

One. The Omnipotent Scream of Rage. In the 1930's, a pioneer work in the psychology of screaming by M. N. Searl, revealed the traumatic nature of screaming fits ended by exhaustion, but only suggested how ‘fixation’ on these infantile situations of screaming rage affected adult behavior. For example, Searl describes how the child will discharge its tensions using as a weapon his omnipotent scream of rage; whereas the adult scream heroes we discuss use equivalents of the scream such as beatings and shootings. The aim of adult scream behavior is to overcome feelings of exhaustion or helplessness and fears of imminent ego collapse—psychic catastrophes which, in part, are the outcome of prolonged periods of waiting to ‘connect’ with a delaying or inconsistent maternal figure. The scream hero characteristically refuses to have his time controlled or his body exhausted by treacherous authority figures. Since he has the ability to do so, the scream hero often attempts to master fears of being left out alone by identifying with the loud, active, threatening father of the phallic primal scene—whom the left out hero had witnessed having intercourse with the mother—or the loud, treacherous mother of the oral primal scene—the mother of this latter scene having given preferential protection and care to the enraged hero's brothers and sisters. Yates writes in this connection that one who has been kept waiting for what he needs to survive may fantasy having “the parents as slaves, obedient all the time to his will so that he is never left alone and kept waiting.” Some heroes who have been left out waiting may identify with their own penetrating, destructive scream of rage, and turn this rage on authority or sibling figures.

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