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Segal, J. (1979). Mother, Sex and Envy in a Children's Story. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 6:483-497.

(1979). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 6:483-497

Mother, Sex and Envy in a Children's Story

Julia Segal


By examining some of the symbolism contained in a children's story by Roald Dahl I have tried to illustrate in detail how two standard female stereotypes in our culture—the sexless mother and the whore—and some male stereotypes can be seen as influenced by a child's unconscious envy of its parents' creativity. I interpret two places as mother symbols and make a distinction between conventional and intrinsic female attributes which are subjected to different unconscious treatment. I also briefly discuss the presence of penis envy in a male phantasy.

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