RELG-Paper3

RELG-Paper3 - RELG 361: Paper #3 M. Boutin 1. Michael...

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RELG 361: Paper #3 Michael Roskies (260193197) M. Boutin April 10 th , 2008 1. Freud regarded “the first year of infancy as a dark mystery enshrouding dimly apprehensible excitations rather than active impulses and phantasies” (Wulff, 327). It was believed that through contact with elements that elicited feelings of either “good” (i.e. pleasure) or “bad” (i.e. tension), that the infant formed forms two fragmented images of the mother. The pre- oedipal foundations for the superego are impressed on the child as he/she strives to turn the “bad mother” into the “good mother”. Vienna- born British psychoanalyst Melanie Klein’s contributions to psychoanalysis are made at this pre-Oedipal stage of the infant, specifically in answering questions about the origin of the Mother-Goddess. Differing from Freud, Klein, while recognizing the mother’s role in child development, emphasizes the mother’s role in religion also. Klein and her followers add details to the portrait Freud painted of the “terrifying Mother-Goddess [who] testifies to fears and fantasies that arise well before the Oedipus complex is constellated” (Wulff, 327). She attributes a frustration-derived rage the infant experiences to unfounded efforts in trying to transform his/her mother. This, coupled to a “drive towards death … present virtually from the beginning of life” (Wulff, 328), creates a fantasy for the monster child wherein he/she launches sadistic attacks on the objects that
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impinge it (i.e. the breast and the mother’s “insides”). This is consistent with Klein’s view that the earliest mental act is that of the creation of an inner world of fantasy. By trying to master his/her anxiety in projecting sadistic trends onto the mother, the child expects the same in return, filling his/her being with dangerous objects. Thus, Klein dichtomizes the Mother-Goddess as the “good” protectress against evil and the “bad” victim of the child’s sadistic wishes. In a pre-Oedipal context, Klein explains the boy’s fear of his castrating mother stems from her taking away his feces, “an act signifying dismemberment”, and from the unconscious fantasy of the mother’s womb reatining the father’s penis. Melanie Klein’s work represents the transition from the “drive centered theory of Freud” to approaches focusing on the earliest of interpersonal relationships. Whereas Freud defined drive as the source, aim and impetus devoid of object, Klein believed drive and object are inherently linked. She reformulates this concept with the object-relations theory, the idea that the self exists only in relation to other objects, which may be external or internal. While the internal objects are external objects internalized through interactions with parents, the child must first become 2
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aware of these external objects by detaching from the oceanic oneness feeling and acknowledge them as “other”.
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RELG-Paper3 - RELG 361: Paper #3 M. Boutin 1. Michael...

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