The oedipal complex in portnoy s grievance

Paper type: Literature,

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Alexander Portnoy, the narcissistic, sex-obsessed protagonist of Philip Roth’s 69 novel Portnoy’s Complaint is actually a classic example of Sigmund Freud’s Oedipal Sophisticated in action. The Oedipus Complicated, as made the theory by Freud, refers to a young boy’s unconscious sexual desire pertaining to the father or mother of the opposing sex and the wish to banish the parent of the same sexual. In the case of Portnoy’s Complaint, Alexander’s Oedipal Intricate manifests on its own early on and is further difficult by his parents’ sexuality subversion”his daddy is timid, docile, and submissive whilst his mother is foolhardy, controlling, and domineering. This kind of unusual situation inevitably plays a role in and exacerbates Alexander’s unusual sexual development.

In line with the criteria from the Oedipal Sophisticated, Alexander frequently expresses strong sexual desire toward his mother. He recalls in superb detail sitting and observing her obtain dressed as she praises him and allows him to truly feel her physique. The picture is filled with sexual tension: “I am absolutely punchy with delight, and meanwhile comply with in their small, slow, brashly delicious trip up her legs the transparent tights that give her flesh a hue of stirring dimensions” (45). This individual continues, “On my disposal, even though this wounderful woman has washed each one of those small piggies using a warm damp cloth, We smell my personal lunch, my own tuna seafood salad. My oh my, it might be… Now i’m sniffing. Probably it is! ” (45). Alexander then fantasizes about what his father will do in the event he located Alexander wonderful mother participating in intercourse: “If there inside the living room their parent little boy would be to tumble all at one time onto the rug along with his mommy, what would Daddy do? Put a bucket of boiling water on the rage-maddened couple? ” (46). Alexander’s derisive tone betrays a contempt to get his father, possibly borne out of the misguided notion that Alexander, a kid, can certainly satisfy his mother’s sexual appetite in ways that his emasculated dad cannot.

However , Alexander’s own tenderness regarding his “fingertip” of a penis, which usually he claims “might hang from the wrist of some little girl’s dolly like a tiny pink purse” is heightened by his mother’s condescending and emasculating attitude”she lightly refers to small Alexander’s male organ as his “‘little thing'” (50). Furthermore, Alexander activities a discomfort akin to castration anxiety the moment his mom holds a bread blade to his throat in an attempt to make him eat his dinner. This kind of incident traumatizes Alexander: “Doctor, why, why oh why oh so why oh how come a mother pull a knife on her own child? ” (16). Alexander perceives his single mother’s threat as a kind of unfaithfulness. He laments, “how can easily [my mother] rise with me at night on the reputation of my own genius during those dusky beautiful several hours after school, and then at night, because I will certainly not eat a few string beans and a baked potato, point a bread blade at my cardiovascular? And how come doesn’t my dad stop her? ” (17).

In the beginning, Alexander is usually receptive to his father but starts to resent his lack of machismo as the narrative moves along. For example , Alexander recalls his father, an insurance salesman, complaining about an African American friends and family leaving youngsters out in the rain: “Please, what kind of man is it, who can want to leave children out in the rain without a decent umbrella for security! ” (10). Immediately after, Alexander recalls when he defeats and figuratively kills his father within a game of baseball, after which it Alexander mockingly states, “Some umbrella” (11). In this instance, Alexander perceives that his success over his father implies the latter’s impotence, which can be further complicated by Alexander’s admiration of his father’s penis, which he likens to “fire hoses coiled along the détroit at school” (50). The disparity involving the size and power of Jake’s genitalia and his passive nature confounds the young Alexander, whose Jewish background offers acculturated him with the opinion that the spouse should be the prominent force in the family. Throughout his years as a child, Alexander develops a systematisierter wahn of his father, “for as period went on, the enemy was more and more his own much loved son” (40). In authentic Oedipal trend, this systematisierter wahn leads Alexander to imagine about eradicating his dad: “What terrified me many about my father was not the violence I expected him momentarily to unleash upon me, nevertheless the violence We wished [¦] to commit upon his ignorant, barbaric carcass” (41).

This reversal of traditional gender roles”the game father and domineering mother, who wields her phallic authority inside the shape of the bread cutting knife she contains to her boy’s throat”causes wonderful distress towards the young Alexander. He mourns what this individual perceives as the dysfunction of his family members, “[I]f my dad had only been my mother! and my mom my father! ” (41). Alexander’s unhealthy passion with his mother and complicated relationship with his father busts his intimate development and can have a profound and destructive influence on the development of his sexuality.

Works Reported

Roth, Philip. Portnoy’s Problem. New York: Antique, 1994. Produce.

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