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Andresen, J.J. (1980). Rapunzel: The Symbolism of the Cutting of Hair. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 28:69-88.

(1980). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 28:69-88

Rapunzel: The Symbolism of the Cutting of Hair

Jeffry J. Andresen, M.D.


I have adduced data to demonstrate that the act of cutting of hair is a symbol. The criterion of proof used is the traditional one in psychoanalysis: the idea carries constant meanings in separate areas of human experience and behavior. Such

constant meanings are shown in a folk tale, the mental lives of patients, clinical studies by other authors, and certain practices of other cultures. The cutting of hair symbolizes separation from a mothering object, castration, and reparation.

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