My Oedipus Complex

January 19, 2010
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In the story “My Oedipus Complex” the author, named Larry in the story and his father compete for the constant attention of the mother/wife figure once the father returns from a lengthy war which leads to conflict between the two of them but results in them seeing that they are actually very similar. There are multiple conflicts in the story both the real and the metaphorical exemplified continually throughout the story of the authors want for his father to leave.


At the very start of the story the author states “Father was in the army all through the war” representing the metaphorical war between the author and his father that ensues over the mother’s attention. Even though for the moment being in the story the relationship between the father and author is pretty decent. While the author’s father is off fighting in the real war he talks about how he used to play with his feet and how he named them “Mrs. Right and Mrs. Left” which seems to dip into the authors unconscious want to not actual want his father to come back home due to the fact that he doesn’t name one of his feet “Mr. Right or Left.” Even though the author says “I asked God to send him back safe from the war to us this goes back to how a metaphorical conflict between the father and the author has already started and the author’s father hasn’t even returned home yet.


Later in the story when the father returns from the war the relationship between the author and him seems to worsen. While the father is back home the author and him take a walk one afternoon. During the walk the author’s father is constantly taking rests on walls that they pass as they walk. The author is greatly upset by this probably because they’ re not walking fast enough so that he could go home and get away from his father or at least go into a different part of the house. At one point during the walk the author thinks to himself “I noticed…that he wanted to stop for a long time whenever he leaned against a wall.” “He seemed to be settling himself forever” which could represent the author’s repressed hope that the father will only temporarily stay with him and his mother and that he will one day leave the house again for another war which he states to his mother by saying “do you think that if I prayed hard God would send Daddy back to war?” This is another example of the conflict between the author and his father and there quickly depleting relationship.


The next day as the author is waking up during the early hours of the day he says that he felt “like a bottle of champagne” which was maybe referring to how his father had shaken his nerves yesterday on their walk and that maybe he was still upset about it. As the day progresses the author becomes bored and states that he was “so very very cold” and how he longed for “the warmth and depth of the featherbed” maybe was metaphor of how he felt left out in the cold without his mother’s warmth and love that she now gives to his father represented by the featherbed.





Later as the tension between the author and his father increases the author decides to test his father’s patience by telling his mother that he would marry her which he believed would make her “relieved to know that one day Father’s hold on her would be broken.” It seems that this is more of a goal that the author wants then his mother and that he uses his mother to cover this concealed purpose.


Towards the end of the story the author’s brother Sonny is born. The author immediately takes to disliking his brother more than his father and soon the father detests Sonny as well for taking his wife’s attention from him. Eventually the author and the father become alliances against the new attention getter as implied when the author states “Mother had no consideration now for anyone but that poisonous pup, Sonny. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Father.” Finally the relationship between the author and his father has improved and the conflict is finally coming to an end between the two of them.
Near the very end of the story the author mentions the big bed after mentioning it several other times in the story. The big bed, which is a recurring theme in the story, seems to be the metaphorical representation of the mother’s attention. First the author is kicked out of the bed and later the father which is stated by the author when he says “It was his turn now. After turning me out of the big bed he had been turned out himself.”


At the end of the story the author describes how he got a model railway from his father for Christmas, which may be referring to the negative Santa Clause representation he had of his father at the beginning of the story, which now as their relationship has become more positively portrayed.


So the feud between the author and his father seems to have come to end and even though the author implies they’re anything but close friends they have become closer once Sonny their common enemy came into the picture even though the author talks about being like the sun throughout the story, which in a way he has been. Due to the fact that like Sonny, or the “sun” he causes the father to feel threatened and feels the need to compete with him for the mother’s attention also known as the conflict that takes place all throughout the story.





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