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Gotti, R. (1982). Love and Neurotic Claims. Am. J. Psychoanal., 42(1):61-70.
(1982). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 42(1):61-70
Love and Neurotic Claims
Richard Gotti, Ph.D., A.C.S.W.
John Marcher waited all his life to be captured, to be overwhelmed by a unique and powerful destiny that would spring like a “beast in the jungle.”1 Immersed for nearly a lifetime in anticipation of this cataclysmic event, he was incapable of experiencing or appreciating what he had, including his long friendship with May Bartram. May, to whom he had revealed his secret destiny, had agreed to be the patient observer over the course of their friendship, to be the primary witness to the event that would unleash the beast.
Through all the years of their friendship, she demanded nothing from him. He accepted her devotion, patience, and sustained interest, offering nothing of himself in return. Years passed, the vigil continued, May grew ill and died, taking with her an insight about the beast that she could not communicate to him. In one of Marcher's frequent visits to the cemetery, he was suddenly struck with the horror of discovery, with the tragic realization that the beast, the soft beast, had sprung in that gentle friendship with May:
… She had lived-who could say now with what passion?-since she had loved him for himself; whereas he had never thought of her (ah, how it hugely glared at him!) but in the chill of his egotism and the light of her use…. The beast had lurked indeed, and the beast at its hour, had sprung; it had sprung in the twilight of the cold April when pale, ill, wasted, but all beautiful, and perhaps even then recoverable, she had risen from her chair to stand before him and let him imaginably guess. It had sprung as he didn't guess; it had sprung as she hopelessly turned from him, and the mark, by the time he left her, had fallen where it was to fall … He saw the Jungle of his life and saw the lurking Beast His eyes darkened-it was close; and, instinctively turning, in his hallucination, to avoid it, he flung himself, on his face, on the tomb.1
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