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Jones, E. (1920). The Symbolism of Being Run Over. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 1:203-203.

(1920). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 1:203-203

The Symbolism of Being Run Over

Ernest Jones

It has several times been pointed out in the psychoanalytical literature that the idea of being knocked down and run over by a carriage, train, omnibus, car, etc., often becomes associated in the unconscious with the idea of a sadistic assault and may on occasion, in dreams, symptoms, and so on, function as a symbol of the latter. I recently came across the following unambiguous example of this:

A stoutly-built patient, with marked sadistic traits, told me during the analysis that on the previous night his weight had incommoded his wife during sexual intercourse, so that she became rather short of breath and remarked "you will squash me as flat as a pancake". That night he dreamed that he was driving a motor-car, when someone called out to the effect that his wife was injured. He hastily stopped the car and looked back to see if he had run over her. In the middle of the road behind was — — a pancake!

There can be little doubt that the experience of the night before had stirred his sadistic impulses, which come to expression in the dream, for it is clear from the context that the running over of his wife represents a violent sexual assault. Of further interest is the symbolism pancake — woman. It is known that the idea of a woman can be symbolised by various flat objects that can be pressed or lain on, e. g. bed, table, altar, different kinds of soft material, and so on.

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