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Emerson, L.E. (1914). Internationale Zeitschrift Für Ärtzliche Psychoanalyse. Psychoanal. Rev., 1(3):333-347.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Internationale Zeitschrift Für Ärtzliche Psychoanalyse

(1914). Psychoanalytic Review, 1(3):333-347

Abstracts

Internationale Zeitschrift Für Ärtzliche Psychoanalyse

L. E. Emerson, Ph.D.Author Information

(Vol. I, No. 3)

1.   Remarks on a Case with Griselda Phantasies. dr. james J. putnam.

2.   The Significance of the Grandfather for the Fate of the Individual. prof. ernest jones.

3.   Some Remarks on the Role of the Grandparents in the Psychology of the Neuroses. dr. karl abraham.

4.   The Grandfather Complex. dr. S. ferenczi.

5.   Reduction of the Motives of Repression through Recompense. dr. victor task.

6.   A Little Human Rooster. dr. S. ferenczi.

1.A Case with Griselda Phantasies.—The patient was a man (aet. 55) of good family and belonging to the best society; a well-educated, unselfish, vigorous man, with unusually good family traditions. His principal trouble was a peculiar estrangement—coupled with a tender affection—existing between himself and his 18-year-old daughter. He had gone abroad with his daughter with the hope that with attentive care he could recover his health. He was constantly so very irritable and depressed that he could neither make her happy nor win her confidence. Till he returned home the patient regarded himself as responsible for this mutual mistrust. As, however, his daughter grew to womanhood and could dispense with his care, he gave way to a jealousy of her interests, and blamed her for personal faults and shortcomings. His deeply felt love struggled with a strong feeling bordering on hatred. This feeling drove him to wish for her, in his thoughts, an insignificant but yet actual pain. This wish to punish his only and deeply loved daughter originated in two motives which were gradually discovered in the course of the analysis. On the one hand the patient sought to play with the idea of injury and so enhance his narcisistic nature which was already

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stamped on him in spite of his good and unselfish disposition. On the other hand he sought to satisfy a strong tendency to sadism and masochism which he had had to a high degree all his life. An incomplete sublimation had partially concealed those tendencies. They were, however, always present, and had manifested themselves strongly in a long series of onanistic phantasies as well as in his dreams. From his earliest youth the patient had been an onanist, and although he had been married thirty years he had not yet entirely overcome it.

The patient, who had well observed himself, believed that this concentration of his thoughts in his daughter was not the cause of his illness but was merely an occasion for expressing abnormal wishes and low spirits. He believed, moreover, that it was the satisfying his morbid instincts that was the root of the evil. Yet the strong suspicion remains that the incestuous instinct provided one essential motive. His strongly repressed sensations towards his daughter ruled him perhaps more than he was aware of. As he himself said, in the early morning as well as later, especially during idle hours, he thought of his daughter with longing, yet in a blaming, angry, and ill-humored mood.

The study of the first three or four years of the patient's life brought out the fact that besides his good qualities he was also timid, dependent, selfish, domineering and vindictive. All these qualities stood in striking contradiction to his outward behavior which was highminded and magnanimous. But already in his third year his sadistic and masochistic inclinations showed themselves. The patient found great pleasure in picturing to himself, in dramatic fashion, phantom people, mostly women, undergoing pain or distress, as did Griselda in the legend. Often these people were condemned to bear burdens far beyond their strength, or work incessantly for an unlimited time, or undergo similar distress. Acute pain was not assigned at first although later they were thus condemned. As the patient grew older the entertaining of an idea of acute pain would instantly bring on a seminal discharge. Often a part of the suffering inflicted on these imaginary people was that they were not allowed to empty their bladders. It is worthy of note that these sadistic thoughts, which always gave a certain satisfaction, were already indulged in as early as his fourth or fifth year.

The patient got pleasure out of his phantasies long before he knew they had any relation to onanism. But with the beginning of puberty he noticed that he invariably got an ejaculation with a phantasy of acute pain. When he came to the pain in his phantasy instantly he had the ejaculation. This discovery put him in the possession

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of a method of prolonging his pleasure and at the same time postponing the unwished-for end of the process.

The principal interest in the case lies less in the facts than in the significance these facts have for the source of the personality and more permanent characteristics of the patient. It needs belittle investigation to show that all these conflicts which the patient had against his daughter were but the revivification of the impulses of his earlier day-dreams. From this point of view it is interesting that the patient himself chose Griselda as the pattern for his dreaming.

The phantasies of the post-puberty stage played a very important and practical part in the patient's married life. Although he was very happily married, the presence of his wife, even caressing her, would give him no erection. It was not until he called his childhood dreams to mind, at times of attempted coitus, that he could get any erection or have successful intercourse. The successful moment came just at the time when he would think of the pain.

Some dreams will now be given illustrating especially clearly characteristic traits of the patient.

First Dream.

“I was at table, not in my own house, but in one similar to the country house in which I passed my childhood. Someone passed me a bit of bread I took it, spit it out, and laid it again on the plate; but then I took it up again.”

After association the patient thought the spit probably represented semen and the bit of bread was to be passed by him to his daughter. In a sense the act was an insulting one and he remembered occasions when he had treated his mother, as child, in similar fashion or had felt inclined to do so.

Second Dream.

“I was on a ship with side wheels. My children,—my daughter and one of her brothers,—were playing cards in the cabin. There were perhaps others there. I called my son (thus forcing him to desert his sister) and asked him to have a game of shuffle-board with me on deck. He came, but we did not play after all. One of the disks fell into the paddle wheels in such a way as to stop the engines and bring the ship to a stand-still. I climbed down, while the others all remained on deck, and thus found myself at the ‘center of power’ (onanistic). Then the paddles began to go around and I awoke.”

The wife of the patient was a spectator and had questioned him. In other words the patient had put his children to discomfort and had

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then gone away in order to make it appear that he could use his own power in some other way alone.

Third Dream.

“I was at the theater as a spectator and yet at the same time I seemed to be one of the actors, and also it seemed to be a bit out of real life. A young woman (probably a substitute for his daughter) and I appeared to be the principal personages. Without knowing why I became angry against the girl, tore a ring from her finger, likewise one from mine, threw them on the stage and trampled on them. Then we seemed poor and needed some money for something. I went out in order to get money and it seemed as if I had pawned my watch and came back. There were others on the stage. I called Robert (his son, much loved, and who likewise had a strong feeling for his sister). I had a small pistol which I handed to the girl, from whom I had torn off the ring, saying: ‘I cannot be trusted with this, take it.’ At this moment the pistol went off and struck her. Others on the stage were also wounded. I was in mind to give myself up to the police. The girl accused me of being a criminal, but then changed into an older person, apparently my wife, or mother, and took steps to suppress the whole affair. (One thing she started to do was to cut off the hair of all the women on the stage).”

Without going deeper into the dream it is seen that the patient was ruled by conflicting emotions. The tearing off of the ring; the altruistic feeling, as shown by the pawning of the watch; the pistol scene, the repentance, the anger of the maiden; the unselfish love of the mother, or wife; the cutting off of the hair; all show unmistakably a play of feelings which have been illustrated in detail in the patient's onanistic phantasies and his life history. The whole life of this man had been more or less consciously permeated with a feeling of mental inferiority and masochistic self punishment. The sadistic tendency can be considered as a protest against these characteristics, which, according to the law of ambivalence, is the obverse of the masochistic inclinations.

Either such a man brought with him into the world his masochistic, or opposing, inclinations, or in comparing himself with other men produced a feeling of inferiority. “I am of the opinion we all discover a feeling of inferiority, or of the opposite, when we, if only half consciously, strive to express ourselves in any way.” Just as the problem of “Evil” is regarded as the origin of all philosophy, so the feeling of inferiority, the masochistic feeling, may serve as the lever with which one brings himself to sublimation.

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The mode of looking at the subject here suggested puts the libido question in a different light from that in which it is ordinarily seen. It is plain that the conception of libido regarded as an active form of energy is that of an immaterial self-renewing process, or force, which in reality is quite analogous to what, since Plato, has been spoken of as self-activity.

The first real step in solving the riddle of the whence and whither of the universe, of existence, of life, is taken when all the phenomena are reduced to one principle. This unity, however, must be capable of dividing itself to be able to explain the variety of personality; it must be able to regard itself as at once object and subject. This is true libido, and we must get back to this metaphysical conception before we can explain all that the libido concept is adopted to account for. Deeper than this one can not go, for this process of self-division, like the biological prototype of the division of the cell, of the sexes, etc., is the most fundamental part of all nature.

It is also evident that the problems of self-assertion and self-abnegation, and others of like sort, have a similar metaphysical root, which is founded in the necessity that the mind is under to seek some particular determinate form of self-expression at each instant, yet at the same time to recognize that any given effort of self-expression is imperfect, and must be temporarily abandoned in favor of a return to the assertion of a universal form. This has an obvious relation, again, to feelings of ineffectiveness-, such as were experienced in large measure by this process.

2.The Significance of the Grandfather.—-Every one remembers the work of Jung on the significance of the father for the individual. Jones thinks the influence of the grandfather deserves, perhaps, even greater attention because here can be found an explanation for many characteristic tendencies and neurotic reactions. There are certain weighty points in which the figure of the grandfather repeatedly differentiates itself from the father-image. In the first place it is much older than the other. It serves in his phantasies as a satisfying substitute for the father, at a time when the boy begins his family “romancing” and seeks to shake off his real father. As is known since Rank's studies the substitute is always invested with the characteristics of the father. The grandfather therefore is especially important because of his similarity and relationship with the father. This will often be aided by the greater fondness and tolerance, which mostly marks the practice of an older man towards children. Many a strict father becomes later an indulgent grandfather, in part perhaps because of his feeling of responsibility for the education of the child being blunted by the philosophy of age. As the child grows, the already established

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association becomes stronger through the still greater similarity of the father with the memory image of the grandfather. A deeper ground for this association is the following: In very many children there is the wish to be the parents of their parents, and thus they have the phantastic belief that as they grow larger their parents grow smaller until their respective positions are reversed. This phantasy construction, which is probably one of the sources of the belief in the reincarnation, has obviously intimate relationship with incestuous wishes, for it is an exaggeration of the frequent wish to be one's father. An amusing approximation to the realization of this phantasy takes place when, as is occasionally the fact, a father and son marry a daughter and mother. The son becomes thus the husband of his father's mother-in-law, that is, so to say, the father of his father and the matter will occasionally be mentioned in the newspapers under the head: A man becomes his own grandfather. In the case of the grandfather on the mother's side there comes in play a wider factor. If the mother, as is so often the case, is excessively attached to her father, the son feels instinctively that his grandfather is his rival with his mother, perhaps more even than his father. There arises then an Edipus situation in which the role of Laios is taken by the grandfather.

The study, so far, has been only from the point of view of the boy; but it is quite similar for the girl. Here, also, the grandfather is a substitute for the father. In the above mentioned phantasy, which we may call the “reversed parentage” phantasy, the girl, when she makes herself the parent of her mother, becomes the wife of her grandfather, just as the boy becomes his grandmother's husband. In the Christian religion there is a commandment which says: “Thou shalt not marry thy grandfather (or grandmother).” No religion forbids with exactness what no one wishes to do.

One of the most striking of the results of the “grandfather-complex” is a fondness for old people. One needs only to remember the noticeable love which many women, and especially young women, show for old men. As I write I hear of the marriage of a man of 84 with a girl of 19, where money played no part. Unusual interest in the family tree and the forefathers goes back to this complex, although the in-quisitiveness as to the problem of birth is perhaps a more general source. It is a well-known fact that in eastern countries where old people are especially honored and treated with unusual submission, there is some form of ancestor cult manifesting itself either directly as the worship of ancestors, or as a holy reverence for them.

It is often noted that many boys take after their grandfather, either in single characteristics or in the total character. The frequency of the case in which a boy is like his grandfather is so great

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that there are many proverbial phrases showing it. Especially in the study of genius, it is enlightening to note how much oftener the series, “mediocrity—genius—mediocrity” or “genius—mediocrity—genius” takes place, than that genius follows genius immediately. The influence of the grandfather is not only physical but also mental, for the figure of the grandfather can become the center of the innermost interests of the grandchild.

An interesting product of the above mentioned “reversed parent” phantasy is closely related to our subject. It becomes namely one of the sources of the incestuous inclinations of parents for their children, also for normal parental love and for paedophilia in general. It has been regularly observed that a man who has an abnormally strong feeling for his daughter, also shows an equally strong infantile fixation on his mother. In his phantasy he begets his mother, becomes her father, and later identifies his daughter with his mother. In the psychic life the present generation becomes the past and the future melts into an unity, thus in phantasy past and future are treated as identical and are all mixed up with each other. Thus mother-complex, and daughter-complex, likewise father and son-complex, stand in close relationship. This holds equally for other emotional ideas, thus love, i. e., for hate. The case of the Cenci is an excellent illustration in point.

In conclusion, one word for a very neglected member of the family —the unmarried aunt. The author had many patients whose interests and inclinations were centered in this figure, who in consequence had a tender feeling for all elderly virgins. One, especially, fell in love with every unmarried virgin over forty years old with whom he came in contact. The meaning of this is clear: the unmarried aunt is the substitute for the virgin mother, an idea which has been very important to many religions. One can venture to generalize, that all parts of the family group, from brother to grandfather, from sister to aunt, are but substitute images of the original three in one, formed by father, mother, and child.

3.The Role of Grandparents in the Neuroses.—Many neurotics and psychoneurotics constantly speak of their grandfather or grandmother, although they may have had no decisive influence at all on their lives. These patients vary, yet one can formulate a common result: The especial emphasis of the grandfather or grandmother is rooted in a declination of the father or mother. Two illustrations from the life of a well, or only slightly neurotic, boy will show this clearly. The boy had a typical phantasy of being a prince over one of the kingdoms of the earth. The king had the same qualities as his father, for whom he had a great respect. Later he gives to this king

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a father, for he can do such things just by the power of his words, i. e., he possesses a god-like omnipotence. The result is clear: The father, who in the eyes of the small child is omnipotent, will have a still more powerful superior, who will contest his omnipotence. It is to be noted that the boy did not know his grandfathers; the grandfather-like form therefore Was created by his phantasy. The same boy got into trouble once with his mother. In tears he declared: “Now I will marry my grandmother.” The boy played his grandparents against his parents. “Grossvater,” “grandfather,” “grand-pere,” and other similar names, permit us to imagine that the child was only repeating in this valuing of the grandparents, what mankind had done since the beginning. The child used the word in its original sense, as in so many other cases. We remember the behavior of this boy when we consider from the psychoanalytic point of view the case of a young man suffering from dementia præcox. In his hallucinations and delusions his grandmother (maternal) played an otherwise not-understandable rôle. The patient often spoke of a continually recurrent vision of his great-grandmother.

As a small boy the patient was in a quite unusual degree attached to his mother. He watched her with such jealousy that she could hardly pay any attention to his father or sister. When later the psychosis became more and more manifest the patient showed the most obvious enmity against his mother. Whereas the patient had been completely dependent on his mother, now, in his psychosis, he felt himself ruled by his grandmother. She appeared before him in order to give him commands or prohibitions. The patient had a lasting enmity towards his mother. He did continually what in the first example (the well boy) was only a passing feeling: he displaced his mother by his grandmother. Here is manifested the over-determined psychical reaction. The patient can direct with less inhibition his wild words of abuse against his grandmother and great-grandmother, who is not flesh and blood to him, than against his mother, to whom, at bottom, he is still attached.

A patient with a compulsion neurosis, who showed in many ways a strong aversion to his father, substituted, in his phantasy, his maternal grandmother for his father. He was brought up by his father, who lived in modest circumstances, in puritanized fashion. He visited his grandfather once in his home with his mother. The old gentleman, who was well-to-do, was overjoyed at the visit of his grandson and showered him with presents which cost, as it seemed to the boy, huge sums. From this time on his antagonism to his father took definite form. His father more than ever seemed to him a tyrant, while his generous grandfather was raised to an ideal-father, or father-ideal.

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During the psychoanalytic treatment the patient had a dream in which he seemed to be traveling, with his mother, to visit his grandfather (long since dead).

Psychoanalysis teaches us to recognize many ways taken by neurotic phantasies in order to paralyse the power of the father or mother complex. One can put these phantasies in three groups. The farthest reaching among these phantasies are the ideas of removal. It is well known how manifold are the ways in which the wish of death against father or mother find expression in the neurosis.

A second group of ideas serves as a denial of the parents, especially often, the father: so-called phantasies of parentage.

Finally, the neurotic seeks to keep off the parental complex by diminishing the power of the father or mother. A diminishing is accomplished when a more powerful is substituted.

One must remember that many neurotics have a strong aversion, conscious or unconscious, against any authority in others. Resistance against the doctor not infrequently manifests itself in this way during a psychoanalytic cure.

The religious feelings of many neurotics finds its source essentially here. The belief in a god-like omnipotence, or a predestined fate, for mankind, comes from a feeling that the father, to whom the neurotic feels inferior on account of his unconscious fixation, is not all-powerful, but that there is a still higher power.

In conclusion the author refers to an analogous phenomenon in folk-psychology. The transference of authority from father to far-removed forefathers is the ground of ancestor worship. The individual really does not worship a single ancestor but a great company of men invest a common fore-father with a power which has as its model fatherly authority.

4.The Grandfather Complex.—The author finds that the grandfather engages the phantasy of the child in a double way. On the one hand he is the imposing old man, to whom even the all-powerful father pays homage, whose authority he hence adopts. But on the other hand he is the helpless, weak, old man, near death, no match for the powerful father (especially in sexual things), and therefore an object of contempt for the child. Very often it is precisely in the person of the grandfather that the child meets first the problem of death, that final disappearance of a member of the family, and thus he can shift his enmity, or repressed phantasies, over the death of his father, to his grandfather. “If the father of my father can die, then my father can also die (and I can come into possession of his privileges) “: thus, perhaps, runs the phantasy which conceals itself behind surface memories and surface phantasies, busying themselves with

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the death of the grandfather. Through the death of the grandfather, moreover, the grandmother becomes free. Many children grasp now the expedient (in order to save the life of the father and still be able to possess the mother alone) of having the grandfather die, in phantasy, in order that the grandmother may be given to the father and they possess the mother themselves. “I sleep with my mother, you should sleep with your mother,” thinks the child and believes himself thus just and generous. Whether the image of a “weak grandfather” or a “strong grandfather” fixes itself on the child, depends on the role actually played by him in the family.

Where the grandfather rules the house the child in his phantasy goes above the powerless father and hopes to inherit directly the whole power of the grandfather. In a case, psychoanalyzed by the author, the child could not subordinate himself to the authority of his father after the death of his grandfather. He regarded his father as a usurper who had robbed him of his rightful possessions.

The image of the “weak grandfather” stamps itself especially sharply on the children of those families in which (as is often the case) the grandparents are not well treated.

5.Reduction of Motives of Repression through Recompense.—Freud's discovery that the forgetting of ideas is always conditioned by a motive of unpleasantness, raises the correlative problem: How is it that the repressed idea comes back into consciousness after a series of free associations? Has, perhaps, the idea lost its unpleasant tone during the course of the association, or has the unpleasantness lost its character as a motive of repression? The answer, according to Freud, would be: the subject chooses a less displeasure—the displeasure which is bound up with the reproduction of the repressed idea—to escape a greater unpleasantness which arises through the inhibition of thought activity. In so far as it concerns the psychical failure of normal consciously purposive thinking might one well desire the power needed for successful psychical processes; the power to overcome the resistance against the memory of an idea due but repressed. The parallel with the neurosis is obvious. Here it is the illness which provides the desire for health and this leads to the overcoming of the repression. In all cases we see that the escaping unpleasantness, which is the aim of the resistance, is relative: the overcoming of the resistance is accomplished through diminishing of the motives of repression by threatening greater unpleasantness on account of prohibiting consciously purposive thinking.

A purely psychological consideration finds the problem in the fact that the reproduction of the repressed idea comes after a definite number of associations. Why does the idea come at one rather than

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another place in the series, after a greater or less number of associations.

The choice of the psychical reaction determined by the endo-psychic censor is independent of the value of the reaction for purposes of social communication or of orientation in the outer world. The distribution of consciousness over ideas takes place according to the principle of pleasantness or unpleasantness, which is determined according to the law of the individual psychical development, a correlate of the development history of human instinct in the individual.

The author has observed that in very many cases in the association series immediately before the reproduction of a forgotten idea an association appeared combined with a pleasant affect. This pleasant idea is of such sort, that it, like a payment on account, rehabilitates the self-consciousness of the subject, which is depressed by the repressed idea. The subject gives himself a recompense before he surrenders to the fact, depressing to his self-consciousness. Through this recompense the motive for repression is weakened and the resistance against the reproduction of the unpleasant idea is diminished.

The author gives the following illustration:

He was speaking with Mr. H. about the sexual life in their times, Mr. H. was just about to tell when he first become acquainted with the fact that there was a commercialized prostitution.

He said “When I was 16 years old I learned from a schoolmate that there were such women in … now I can't remember the name of the street which my schoolmate told me there.”

The following free association was given to clear the way for the forgotten idea.

1.   “It was the name of a battle,” and then he remembered three names.

2.   Lissa, Custozza, and Canossa.

3.   The victor at Lissa, Tegetthoff, his memorial is in the second district, Vienna. In the same district there is also a Custozza street.

4.   At Lissa and at Custozza the Italians were besieged by the Austrians. Now I remember that one history professor in the Untergymnasium always painted the Italians as bitter enemies of the Austrians.

5.   I have recently had a woman colleague, who thought I was an antifeminist, say that as to the emancipation of women I had gone a long way towards Canossa.

6.   To go to Canossa means to ask pardon, to excuse oneself. Now I remember an historical event at Canossa: The Pope on a balcony with the Duchess Mathilda, and below, barefooted, in the snow, King Henry IV, Bourbon.

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7.   Tannhauser had to make a pilgrimage to Rome barefooted.

8.   The Venusberg in the opera of Tannhauser.

9.   The Ninth Symphony.

10.  To be embraced by millions. The text is by Schiller; the phrase has indeed a voluptuous character.

11.  The verse of Schiller's: A Campaign it was, not one battle to win.

12.  I wrote this phrase to a colleague instead of an account of my examination. The examination had been almost a defeat for me.

And then the author goes on to state that suddenly the anxious expression, the tense psychical state of Mr. H. changed into an expression of relief as he remembered the forgotten name: The street was called Novara-Gasse and it was in the second district.

In answer to the question as to the affect associated with this name, Mr. H. said: “After I heard there were prostitutes in Novara-Gasse I went there. A dirty old prostitute spoke to me and called me ‘Bubi.’ At that time I didn't know it was also used with grown men, and I took it as a criticism of my youthful appearance. My pride was touched and the pain increased by a feeling of its truth. This feeling, in combination with my consciousness of being on forbidden paths made my first attack on the battle field of love a complete failure. Then came the disgust inspired in me by the woman. I gave her no answer and quickly went away. It was a very unpleasant experience.”

The forgotten idea thus was associated with an unpleasant affect. The associations led finally, to the pleasant memory of a successful examination. With success in the spiritual realm one can please an “emancipated” woman and with such success one could perhaps eventually win a wife. His masochistic tendencies would perhaps not be so inhibitory in the future as they had been in youth in the ” Novaragasse.” With this pleasant thought, this recompense, came the forgotten idea.

6.A Little Human Rooster.—This study concerns a five year old boy, who, according to the unanimous report of his relatives, had developed perfectly normally in mind and body till he was 3 ½, and was a quite normal child. He spoke easily and showed much intelligence in his speech.

All of a sudden he became quite changed. In the summer of 1910 the family went to an Austrian watering place, where they had been the summer before, and established themselves in the same house. From now on the child changed in a striking way. Earlier interested in everything going on in and out of the house that could attract the interest of a child, from now on he was interested in

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only one thing and that was the hen-house in the yard. The first thing in the morning he would run to see the poultry, observe them with undiminished interest, imitate their voices and actions, cry and weep if he were taken out of the hen-house by force. Away from the poultry yard he would do nothing else but crow and cackle. He would do this by the hour; answer questions with only this voice; so that his mother became very worried lest her boy should forget how to speak.

This peculiarity of the little boy lasted while they were at the summer residence. When the family returned to Budapest he began to speak like a human being again, although the subject of his conversation was almost exclusively about cocks, hens, fowl, above all about geese and ducks. His usual daily play, repeated innumerable times, was the following: he crumpled up a newspaper into something like the shape of a hen, offered it for sale, then he took any object (most often a small hand whisk brush) which he called his knife, took his “bird” under the water faucet (where the cook really killed poultry) and cut off the head of his paper hen. He showed how the hen bled and imitated by voice and action the death struggle of the fowl. If fowl were offered for sale in the court, he would run restlessly in and out of the door till his mother had bought one. He wishes obviously to be a witness of its slaughter. For living hens he has, however, not the slightest anxiety.

The parents have questioned the child innumerable times as to why he was so afraid of a rooster and he always told the same story: he had gone to the hen-house once and had urinated there. A hen or capon with yellow (often he said brown) feathers had come and picked his member and Ilona, the maid, had bound up his wound for him.

Now the parents remembered an occurrence which happened the first summer they were in this watering place, hence when the boy was 2 ½ years old. His mother heard the little fellow cry out one day and learned from the house-maid that he had been terribly frightened by a hen which had snapped at his member. Since Ilona no longer worked for the family, it could not be learned whether he was really wounded or (as the mother remembered) whether Ilona provided him with a bandage merely to quiet him.

The noteworthy thing about the case is, that the psychical aftereffect of the child's experience took place after a latent period of a year, on his return to the summer place, without, in the meantime, anything occurring that could explain this sudden return of anxiety in the presence of poultry or explain his interest in them. It was questioned as to whether the child had not masturbated during this

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latent period and on that account been threatened with having the member cut off. The answer, only unwillingly given, was that the boy (now 5 years old) did play with his member with much pleasure, and had been often punished for it, and that it was not improbable that some one had jestingly threatened him with cutting it off. It was also true that he had had this bad habit for a long time, but whether he had it during that latent-year no one knew.

As it was found later that the boy had actually not been spared this threat, one was warranted in holding to the probability that it was hearing this threat during the latent-time which had aroused such an enormous response, as well as the endangering of the welfare of his member by his seeing again the place. Naturally a second possibility is not excluded, namely, that the first shock was overemphasized by previous threats of castration. Unfortunately the time relation can not be reconstructed and we have to be contented with the probability of the original casual relations.

It was impossible to conduct a direct psychoanalysis. What we learned was through a neighbor and friend of the family.

He could cackle and crow in a masterly manner, and used to awaken the family, like Chanticleer by lusty crowing in the morning. He was musical, but would sing only folk-songs in which there were cocks or hens. He could draw, but drew birds with great beaks exclusively. Thus he tried to sublimate his pathologically strong interest.

His feeling for poultry was ambivalent: he liked to see them killed, etc., but he often kissed and stroked the dead fowl. Once he threw his indestructible doll (a hen) down in a rage but immediately picked it up again and caressed it.

From psychoanalytic study of mature patients it has been learned that the cock in a symptom complex means the father.

He was very much interested in the sex of every fowl killed, and it had to be explained to him which it was, cock, hen, or capon.

There is no doubt that in his mind a rooster, hen, and chicken stood for the family. “My father is the rooster,” he said once. “Now I am little I am a chicken. When I grow bigger I will be a hen. When I grow still bigger I'll be a cock. When I am biggest I'll be a coachman.” (The coachman seemed to him more important even than his father.)

One morning he questioned the neighbor: “Why do people die?” (Answer: because they are old and tired.) “Hm! Then my grandmother was old? No! She was not old and yet she died. O, if there is a God why does he let me fall? (He means stumble.) And why did he fix it so that men should die ?” Then he began to

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interest himself in angels, whereupon the explanation was made that that was only a fairy story. He became quite terrified and said: “No ! That is not so! There are angels. I have seen them carrying dead children in heaven.” Then he questioned, “Why do children die?” “How long can one live? “

It turned out that that same morning, early, the chambermaid had turned back his bed-covering quickly and had caught him manipulating his member, whereupon she had threatened him with cutting it off.

Now we understand better his unappeasable anger against the rooster which had tried to do the same thing with his member. We can understand also the gruesome character of his sadistic phantasies.

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Article Citation [Who Cited This?]

Emerson, L.E. (1914). Internationale Zeitschrift Für Ärtzliche Psychoanalyse. Psychoanal. Rev., 1(3):333-347

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