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Paul, L. (1961). A Psychoanalytic Reading of Hawthorne's “Major Molineuy” The Father Manqué and the Protégé Manqué. Am. Imago, 18(3):279-288.

(1961). American Imago, 18(3):279-288

A Psychoanalytic Reading of Hawthorne's “Major Molineuy” The Father Manqué and the Protégé Manqué

Louis Paul, M.D.

I

Three critics, Simon O. Lesser, (5) Franklin B. Newman, (2) and Hyatt H. Waggoner, (3) have recently ventured psychoanalytic interpretations of one of Hawthorne's finest stories, one perhaps “indeed among the greatest stories in the language,” (4) “My Kinsman, Major Molineux.” I wish to extend these interpretations to more of the text and correct some points and emphases I think are erroneous. My main criticisms are adumbrated by two proposed emendations to a summary statement by Lesser:

“The tendencies which assert themselves in Robin exist in all men. What he is doing, unwittingly but flamboyantly, is something which every young man does and must do, however gradually, prudently and inconspicuously: he is destroying an image of paternal authority so that, freed from its restraining influence, he can begin life as an adult.” (5)

I would emend this to read: “… something which every neurotic young man does … nor destroying but unconsciously preserving an image of paternal authority …” Recall that Robin himself does not “destroy” any paternal image. The humiliation of Major Molineux is accomplished by the townspeople who not only destroy an image of authority but desecrate by mockery and ignominy an actual authority, a public official.

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