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Greene, E.L. (1987). American Imago. XL, 1983: Camus'The Stranger: The Sun-Metaphor and Patricidal Conflict. Stephen Ohayon. Pp. 189-205.. Psychoanal Q., 56:425.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Imago. XL, 1983: Camus'The Stranger: The Sun-Metaphor and Patricidal Conflict. Stephen Ohayon. Pp. 189-205.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:425

American Imago. XL, 1983: Camus'The Stranger: The Sun-Metaphor and Patricidal Conflict. Stephen Ohayon. Pp. 189-205.

Edward L. Greene

This major work of Camus has been variously interpreted over the years by numerous scholars. Ohayon suggests that the thematic axis running through the works of Camus is the "homicidal insurrection against a patricidal superego." The author points out how, particularly in The Stranger, the sun metaphorically represents the malevolent, assaultive, absolutist patriarch against whose rage (projected) the hero must defend himself by murdering a faceless, nameless male. By linking Meursault, the hero, to Camus through quotations from his other writings, Ohayon shows that The Stranger becomes somewhat of an expression of an inner crisis of the writer's mid-twenties. Ohayon then turns to a well-presented examination of the work itself, easily demonstrating the use of the oppressive sun as the metaphoric representation of the missing father, imagined as dangerous and threatening. Deprived of a father early in life, Meursault/Camus attempts to deal with his guilt over poorly resolved patricidal impulses by sacrificing himself to father surrogates in the form of judges, jury, state. We are able to recognize in this work an example of Freud's thesis that whenever actual experience fails to fit the "phylogenetically" endowed schema of development, the imagination fills in, often in the most primitive and unsocialized ways. This study is a fine example of how, through careful examination of the life of an artist and of his writings, one can clearly observe the elaboration of certain classic psychoanalytic theories.

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Article Citation

Greene, E.L. (1987). American Imago. XL, 1983. Psychoanal. Q., 56:425

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