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Sarasohn, M.K. (2005). On: The cause is worse: Remeeting Jocasta. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(3):895-896.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(3):895-896

On: The cause is worse: Remeeting Jocasta Related Papers

M. Kim Sarasohn

Dear Sirs,

Barbara Stimmel (2004) carefully details the mother's reworking of separation and individuation issues stimulated by the experience of parturition. The appropriation of Jocasta as a metaphor for this process, however, is tenuous. Stimmel's reading fails to consider the story's familial and environmental context and overlooks analogous experiences of exclusion shared by Oedipus and Jocasta.

Stimmel asserts that Jocasta knowingly participates in an incestuous reunion with her son in an attempt to overcome unbearable feelings of separation and loss. This narrow interpretation minimizes the myth's developmental contributions. In addition to the ‘dynamics of love, aggression, hate, and lust’ (p. 1176), the oedipal conflict depicts the relationship between dependency and power, desire and exclusion. Mothers are perceived as potentially dangerous to, and by, their children because they hold the power of gratification and frustration, life and death. But the Oedipus story, like the developmental crisis, involves the intrusion of a third who interrupts the exclusive dyadic involvement. The other is perceived as rival for mother's love and attention, provoking frustration, perhaps fury, over the baby's exclusion from, among other activities, those that occur in the bedroom.

What is striking about Jocasta is that she shares with Oedipus precisely this experience of exclusion. If Laius is homosexual, Jocasta is excluded as a primary sexual object and must steal from him the means of her pregnancy.

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