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Fenichel, O. (1929). Two Short Supplementary Notes. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 10:447-450.

(1929). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 10:447-450

Two Short Supplementary Notes

Otto Fenichel



In a former paper I discussed the economic meaning of 'screen-memories' in connection with a phenomenon which I called the inner injunction to 'make a mental note'. We know that the function of screen-memories is to facilitate tendentious forgetting by noting in a specially intense fashion material associated with that which is to be repressed. When children are struggling to effect repressions they have a kind of 'hunger for screen-experiences'; that is, when they experience anything which they can use as a screen-memory they sometimes feel a kind of inner injunction: 'You must make a note of that!' They obey this injunction, and this enables them to forget something else. I gave two examples of this, and I can now add a third, which is particularly clear.

A certain patient recollected that one day, when he was a child, he determined to 'test his memory' by resolving 'for ever to remember' something. This idea occurred to him suddenly as he was out walking and saw an advertisement of a kind of margarine called 'Palmona' or 'Palmin'. He made up his mind that he would never forget this advertisement.

Margarine is a substitute for butter. In association to this the patient thought of a song which he used to sing as a child, though he thought it was not a 'nice' song. The words were: 'My mother always smears the butter on the wall'. At home they always ate butter—never margarine, and it was always impressed on his mind as a child that they had only the very best butter.

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