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International Library of Psychology

Philosophy and Scientific Method

Sex and Repression Savage Society

in


International Library of Psychology

Method

Philosophy and Scientific GENERAL EDITOR: C. K. OGDEN, Philosophical Studies The Misuse of Mind Conflict and Dream* Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus Psychological Types* .

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Individual Psychology Speculations (Preface by Jacob Epstein) The Psychology of Reasoning* The Philosophy OF " As If " The Nature of Intelligence Telepathy and Clairvoyance The Growth of the Mind The Mentality of Apes . Psychology of Religious Mysticism The Philosophy of Music The Psychology of a Musical Prodigy Principles of Literary Criticism Metaphysical Foundation of Sciences Thought and the Brain* Physique and Character* .

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E. A. Burtt, Ph.D.

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EiDETic Imagery

The Concentric Method The Foundations of Mathematics The Philosophy of the Unconscious .

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P. S. Florence Hamilton Frank Lorimer

E. R.

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Foundations of Geometry and Induction

Lodge

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R. C.

frv

fry G. Murphy June E. Downey Christine Ladd-Franklin .

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The Laws of Feeling The Mental Development of the Child .

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Colour and Colour Theories

The Trauma of Birth The Statistical Method in Economics The Art of Interrogation The Growth of Reason Human Speech

Markey

F.

K. C. Hsiao .fry Liang Chi-Chao

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Rabaud

Bogoslovskv

fry J. fry

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Political Pluralism History of Chinese Political Thought Integrative Psychology* The Analysis of Matter Plato's Theory of Ethics Historical Introduction to Modern Psychology Creative Imagination

B. B.

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E.

von UexkOll Scott Buchanan

fry J. fry

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W. Morton Wheeler

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Charles Fox fry J. Piaget

Malinowski, D.Sc. fry P. Masson-Oursel fry F. Alverdes

B.

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The Technique of Controversy The Symbolic Process

fry H. Pi6ron Ernst Kretschmer .

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Personality* Educational Psychology Language and Thought of the Child Sex and Repression in Savage Society* Comparative Philosophy SocLAL Life in the Animal World How Animals Find their Way About The Social Insects Theoretical Biology .

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G. Revesz A. Richards

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Psychology of Emotion Problems of Personality The History of Materialism

Biological Principles

H. Leub." Pole, F.R.S.

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W. Kohler

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Alfred Adler T. E. Hulme

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Eugenio Rignano fry H. Vaihinger

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Cambridge)

College,

by G. E. Moore, Litt.D. by Karin Stephen 6y W. H. R. Rivers, F.R.S. fry L. Wittgenstein fry C. G. Jung, M.D. fry C. D. Broad, Litt.D. C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards .

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Possibility

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Thought* The Meaning of Meaning Scientific

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M.A. {Magdalene

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F.

fry

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Paulhan

K. Buhler

E. R. Jaensch

M. Laignel-Lavastine fry

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F. P.

Ramsey

fry E. von H.mitmann Outlines of Greek Philosophy fry E. Zeller The Psychology of Children's Drawings fry Helga Eng Invention and the Unconscious fry J. M. Montmasson The Theory of Legislation by Jeremy Bentham The Social Life of Monkeys fry S. Zuckerman The Development of the Sexual Impulses . fry R. E. Money-Kyrle Constitution Types in Delinquency fry W. A. Willemse The Sciences of Man in the Making fry E. A. Kirkpatrick Ethical Relativity fry E. A. Westermarck The Gestalt Theory fry Bruno Petermann fry C. Daly King The Psychology of Consciousness fry K. Vossler The Spirit of Language The Dynamics of Education .fry Hilda Taba The Nature of Learning fry George Humphrey -fry Wen Kwei Liao The Individual and the Commxjnity Crime, Law, and Social Science , .fry Jerome Michael and M. J. Adler Dynamic Social Research fry J. J. Hader and E. C. Lindeman fry S. M. Stinchfield Speech Disorders fry Max Black The Nature of Mathematics The Neural Basis of Thought fry G. G. Campion and Sir Grafton Elliot Smith Law and the Social Sciences fry Huntington Cairns fry F. M. Cornford Plato's Theory of Knowledge fry M. M. Lewis Infant Speech .

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â&#x20AC;˘ Asterisks denote that other books by the same author are included in the Series.


Sex and Repression in Savage Society

By

BRONISLAW MALINOWSKI

m LONDON

KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & BROADWAY HOUSE,

Co.,

68-74 CARTER LANE, E.C.4

1937

Ltd.


First published 1927

Reprinted

...

1

937

Made and Printed in Great Britain by CO. LTD. PERCY LUND, HUMPHKIES 12 Bedford Square, London, W.C.i and at Bradford

&


TO MY FRIEND

PAUL KHUNER New

Guinea, 1914, Australia, 1918,

South Tyrol, 1922.


PREFACE 'T^HE

had within

doctrine of psycho-analysis has

the last ten years a truly meteoric rise in popular favour.

It

has exercised a growing influence over

contemporary fact been for

literature, science,

and

art.

some time the popular craze

has in

It

of the day.

By this many fools have been deeply impressed and many pedants shocked and put off. The present writer belongs evidently to the

first

category, for he was for

a time unduly influenced by the theories of Freud and Rivers, Jung,

But pedantry

and Jones.

will

remain

the master passion in the student, and subsequent reflection soon chilled the initial enthusiasms.

This process followed I

by the

with

its

all

can be

careful reader in this little volume.

do not want, however, to

dramatic

ramifications

volte-face.

I

raise expectations of a

have never been

in

any sense

a follower of psycho-analytic practice, or an adherent of psycho-analytic

of

theory

;

and now, while impatient

the exorbitant claims of psycho-analysis,

chaotic arguments

and tangled terminology,

of I

its

must

yet acknowledge a deep sense of indebtedness to

it

for stimulation as well as for valuable instruction in

some aspects

of

human

psychology.


— PREFACE

Vlll

Psycho-analysis has plunged us into the midst of a dynamic theory of the mind,

it

has given to the study

of mental processes a concrete turn,

has led us to

it

concentrate on child psychology and the history of

Last but

the individual.

of

the

human

life.

upon us the consideration unacknowledged

sides of

The open treatment

my

in

man

in

which psycho-analysis is

and

of sex

meanesses and vanities

least,

i;iot

man

that

;

fig leaf.

one

is,

if

As a pupil and

shall not accuse

—however

profoundly

of the sex impulse.

I

Nor

protest, righteously

—the very things for above

the

pan-sexualism

of

disagree with his treatment

as such, at times unclean,

is

my

hands

Man

is

views under of the

dirt

an animal, and,

and the honest anthro-

The student's grievance

not that

it

has treated sex

openly and with due emphasis, but

the

to

and even without

shall I accept his

pologist has to face this fact.

As

all

and

he wants to study his

Freud

with which they are covered.

treated

shameful

follower of Havelock Ellis, " "

washing

against psycho-analysis

and

most hated and reviled

is

subject without irrelevant trappings

for

unofficial

of various

endear psycho-analysis,

student of

I

has forced

opinion of the greatest value to science,

should

the

it

that

it

has

incorrectly.

it

to the chequered history of the present volume,

first

the rest.

two parts were written much

Many

ideas laid

down

earlier

than

there were formed


PREFACE while

I

was engaged

ix

studying the Hfe of Melanesian

in

communities on a coral archipelago. tions sent to

and some

me by

literature with

me, stimulated

The

instruc-

my friend Professor C. G. Seligman,

me

which he kindly supplied

to reflect on the

manner

in

which

the Oedipus complex and other manifestations of the " unconscious " might appear in a

community

The actual observations

founded on mother-right.

on the matrilineal complex among Melanesians are to

my

knowledge the

application of psycho-

first

analytic theory to the study of savage

may

such

of his

life,

and as

be of some interest to the student of man,

mind and

My

of his culture.

conclusions are

couched in a terminology more psycho-analytic than I

Even so I do not go much complex " and " repression ",

should like to use now.

beyond such words as

"

using both in a perfectly definite and empirical sense.

As and

my

reading advanced,

less inclined to

conclusions of Freud,

still less

feel

more

found myself

manner the

As an anthropologist

especially that ambitious theories with

regard to savages, hypotheses of the origin of institutions

less

those of every brand and

sub-brand of psycho-analysis. I

I

accept in a wholesale

and accounts

human

of the history of culture,

should be based on a sound knowledge of primitive hfe, as well as of the

of the

human mind.

unconscious or conscious aspects After

all

neither group-marriage

nor totemism, neither avoidance of mother-in-law


PREFACE

X

nor magic happen in the " unconscious "

and cultural

solid sociological

them

facts,

and

;

they are

to deal with

theoretically requires a type of experience

which

That

cannot be acquired in the consulting room. misgivings are justified

all

my

have been able to convince

I

myself by a careful scrutiny of Freud's Totem and Taboo, of his Group-Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, of

the anthropological works of

My

by Roheim and of Reik, Rank, and Jones.

Australian Totemism

conclusions the reader will find substantiated in

the third part of the present book. In the last part of the book

my

positive views

have

I

on the origins of

tried to set forth

culture.

I

have

there given an outline of the changes which the animal

nature of the

human

species

must have undergone

under the anomalous conditions imposed upon culture.

More

have

especially

I

it

by

attempted to show

that repressions of sexual instinct and some sort of "

complex " must have arisen as a mental by-product

of the creation of culture.

The is

in

the book, on Instinct and Culture,

last part of

my

opinion the most important and at the same

From

time the most debatable. point of view at least,

an attempt

at

an

it is

a pioneering piece of work

No doubt most

to be recast, but

;

exploration of the " no-specialist's-

land " between the science of animal.

the anthropological

I

of

my

man and

that of the

arguments

will

have

believe that they raise important


;

PREFACE issues

will

sooner or later have to be considered

biologist

and animal psychologist, as well as

which

by the

xi

by the student

of culture.

As regards information from animal psychology and biology

I

have had to rely on general reading.

used mainly the works of Darwin and Havelock Professors Lloyd Morgan, Herrick,

have

I

Ellis

;

and Thorndike

;

Heape, Dr. Kohler and Mr. Pyecroft, and such

of Dr.

information as can be found in the sociological books

Westermarck,

of I I

Hobhouse,

Espinas

have not given detailed references

my

wish here to express

works

;

most

of instinct

I

habit

Lloyd Morgan,

seems to I

me

and that

my

the most

have found most

discovered too late that there

discrepancy between

and

indebtedness to these

adequate and whose observations useful.

others.

in the text

of all to those of Professor

whose conception

and

some

is

use of the terms instinct and

of Professor

Lloyd Morgan, and

our

in

respective conceptions of plasticity of instincts.

I

do

not think that this implies any serious divergence of opinion.

a

I

believe also that culture introduces

new dimension

in the plasticity of instincts

and

that here the animal psychologist can profit from

becoming acquainted with the anthropologist's contributions to the problem. I

have received in the preparation

of this

book much

stimulation and help in talking the matter over with

my

friends

Mrs.

Brenda

Z.

Seligman

of

Oxford


PREFACE

xu

Dr. R. H. Lowie and Professor Kroeber of California

University

White

Mr. Firth of

;

New

Washington, and Dr. H.

of

Baltimore

;

of the

London School

Dr. G. V. Hamilton and Dr.

S.

of

S.

of

of

E. JelUffe of

Dr. E. Miller of Harley Street

de Angulo

;

W.

A.

Sulhvan

of

Dr.

Professor Herrick of Chicago University,

and Dr. Ginsberg

Ogden

Zealand

Economics

;

New York

;

Mr. and Mrs. Jaime

;

Berkeley, California, and Mr. C.

Cambridge

;

K.

Professor Radcliffe-Brown of

Cape Town and Sydney, and Mr. Lawrence K. Frank of

New York

is

based has been made possible by the munificence

of Mr.

My this

City.

The

field-work on which the book

Robert Mond. friend Mr. Paul

book

is

Khuner

of Vienna, to

dedicated, has helped

competent criticism which cleared present subject as on

many

me

greatly

my

whom by

his

ideas on the

others.

B. M. Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics, University of London. February. 1927.


CONTENTS

Preface

......

PAGE vii

PART THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX I

CHAPTER I.

II.

The Problem The Family

.

IV.

V. VI.

VII. VIII.

IX.

.

.

i

....

8

The First Stage of the Family Drama Fatherhood in Mother-right

25

Infantile Sexuality

33

in

Mother-right III.

.

Father-right and

.....

.

The Apprenticeship to Life The Sexuality of Later Childhood Puberty The Complex of Mother-right .

.

..... ,

i8

40 49 59

74

PART II THE MIRROR OF TRADITION I.

II.

III.

IV.

Complex and Myth in Mother-right Disease and Perversion Dreams and Deeds Obscenity and Myth

... .

.

.

.

.

83 85 91

104


CONTENTS

xiv

PART III PSYCHO-ANALYSIS AND ANTHROPOLOGY PAGE I.

The Rift Between Psycho-analysis AND Social Science " A Repressed Complex " " The Primordial Cause of Culture " The Consequences of the Parricide The Original Parricide Analysed Complex or Sentiment ? .

II.

III.

IV. V.

VI.

.

.

.

.

135 142

148

154 159 173

PART IV INSTINCT AND CULTURE I.

II.

.....

The Transition from Nature to Culture The Family as the Cradle of Nascent Culture Rut and Mating in Animal and Man .

III.

IV. V.

VI.

Marital Relations Parental Love

VII.

IX.

Man

XI. XII.

.... .

.

.

.

.

.

...

The Plasticity of Human Instincts From Instinct to Sentiment Motherhood and the Temptations .

OF Incest X.

.

184 193

201

207

The Persistence of Family Ties in

VIII.

.

179

.

.....

Authority and Repression Father-right and Mother-right Culture amd the Complex Index

218 225

229 243 253

.

.

263

......

274 281

.

.


" After ignoring impulses for a long time in behalf

modern psychology now tends

of sensations,

start

to

out with an inventory and description of instinctive activities.

when and

This

it tries to

social life by direct reference to these nature

the explanation becomes

"

We

have

need

to

educated

significant

hazy and forced

know about original

element

into

we

before

in

.

.

powers

.

the social conditions

aztivities

dispositions

psychological

But

an undoubted improvement.

is

explain complicated events in personal

can

discuss

This

society.

which

definite

the

is

and the

true

Native human social psychology of nature supplies the raw materials but custom furnishes

meaning the

.

machinery and the designs

.

.

... Man

a creature

is

of habit, not of reason nor yet of instinct. " The treatment of sex by psycho-analysts is most instructive, for it flagrantly exhibits both the consequences of artificial simplification and the transformation of social

results

into psychic

causes.

male, hold forth on the psychology of

usually

Writers,

woman

as if they

They phenomena, which are peculiarly symptoms of the civilization of the West at the present time, as if they were dealing with a Platonic universal entity

.

.

.

treat

were the necessary

human

efforts

of fixed native impulses of

nature,"

JOHN DEWEY,

in

Human

Nature and Conduct


PART

I

THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX I

THE PROBLEM pSYCHO-ANALYSIS was born practice,

but of

medical

and its theories are mainly psychological,

stands in close relation to two other branches

it

learning

It is

from

—biology

perhaps one of

and

the

its chief

science

of

merits that

society. it

forges

another link between these three divisions of the science of

The psychological

man.

views

Freud

of

—his

theories of conflict, repression, the unconscious, the

formation of complexes

and they cover

of psycho-analysis,

The

—form the best elaborated part

biological doctrine

its

proper

field.

the treatment of sexuality and

of its relation to other instincts, the concept of the '

libido

'

and

its

various transformations

thetheory which contradictions

is

and

much

sociological aspect,

a part of

and which

from

and partly

receives

more

justified.

The

which most interests us here,

deserve more attention. sociology

is

less finished, less free

lacunae,

criticism, partly spurious

will

Curiously enough, though

and anthropology have contributed most


â&#x20AC;&#x201D; SEX AND REPRESSION

2

evidence in favour of psycho-analysis, and though the the Oedipus complex has obviously a

doctrine of

sociological aspect, this aspect has received the least

attention.

Psycho-analytic doctrine the influence of family are

shown how the

of

the

a theory of

We

on the human mind.

life

and

conflicts

father,

mother,

passions, stresses

relation

in

child

is essentially

to

its

brother and sister result in the formation of certain

permanent mental attitudes or sentiments towards them, sentiments which, partly living in memory,

embedded

partly later

life

society.

T

individual

the

am

using the word sentiment in the technical

by Mr. A.

it

implications

his theory of

The

in

to

relations

his

F. Shand, with all the

which

it

has

received

in

emotions and instincts.

sociological nature of this doctrine is obvious

the whole Freudian definite

of

the unconscious, influence the

of

sense given to

important

in

drama

is

played out within a

type of social organization, in the narrow

the

children.

family,

composed

of

father,

circle

mother, and

Thus the family complex, the most impor-

tant psychological fact according to Freud,

is

due

to the action of a certain type of social grouping

upon the human mind. received

by every

Again, the mental imprint

individual in youth exercises further

social influences, in

formation of certain

that ties,

it

predisposes

and moulds

him

to the

his receptive


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX and

dispositions

of tradition, art,

Thus the logical

his creative

power

in

the domains

thought, and reUgion.

sociologist

feels

that

to

the

treatment of the complex there

added two

3

sociological

chapters

psycho-

should

be

an introduction

:

with an account of the sociological nature of family

and an epilogue containing the analysis

influences,

of the consequences of the

complex

problems therefore emerge for the First problem.

mentality,

is

family

character

its

For the fact

human

If

life is

societies.

sociologist.

human

so fateful for

more

deserves

that the family

Two

for society.

attention.

not the same in

is

Its constitution varies greatly

all

with

the level of development and with the character of the civilization of the people, and in the different strata of the

to theories logists,

same

it is

not the same

society.

According

even to-day among anthropo-

current

the family has changed enormously during

the development of humanity, passing from

its first

promiscuous form, based on sexual and economic

conununism, through marriage', '

'

group-family

'consanguineous

Punalua marriage

',

'

based on

family',

'

group-

based

on

through the Grossfamilie and

clan kindred to its final form in our present-day society

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;the individual family based on monogamous

marriage and the patria potestas. anthropological fact with

much

constructions

But apart from such which combine some

hypothesis, there

is

no doubt that


SEX AND REPRESSION

4

from actual observation among present-day savages

we can

see great variations in the constitution of the

There

family.

in

the

father,

give

the

divergencies in the methods of counting

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;matriliny

of

various

the

There are considerable

sub-divisions of mother-right.

and patriUny

the

forms

several

patriarchy, or vested in the mother,

descent

on

depending

differences

power which, vested in a varying

of

distribution

degree

are

and regarding

based on ignorance of fatherhood

in spite of this ignorance

patriUny

;

due to power, and patriliny due to economic reasons. Moreover, differences in settlement, housing, sources of food supply, division of labour

greatly the constitution of the

and

human

so on, alter

family

among

the various races and peoples of mankind.

The problem passions and

with

its

therefore emerges

:

do the

conflicts,

attachments within the family vary

constitution, or

throughout humanity

?

do they remain the same If

they vary, as in fact

they do, then the nuclear complex of the family

cannot remain constant in peoples

;

The

family. is,

it

all

human

races

must vary with the constitution

and

of the

main task of psycho-analytic theory

therefore, to study the limits of the variation

to frame the appropriate formula;

and

finally,

;

to

discuss the outstanding types of family constitution

and to

state the corresponding forms of the nuclear

complex.


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX With perhaps one

exception,^ this problem has not

been raised, at least not in an

yet

to the Freudian School, universal,

I

mean

explicit

exclusively

the Oedipus complex, corresponds

Aryan family with the

essentially to our patrilineal

developed patria potestas, buttressed by

and

Christian

and

morals,

Yet

this

complex

is

savage or barbarous society. correct, will

far this

assumed to

of

the

exist in every

This certainly cannot be of the first

assumption

What

The second problem. influence

by

of the well-to-do bour-

and a detailed discussion

show us how

Roman law

accentuated

modern economic conditions geoisie.

and

known and assumed by them to be

The complex

manner.

direct

5

is

is

problem

untrue.

the nature of the

the family complex on the formation

of

myth, legend, and fairy

of

savage and barbarous customs, forms of social

tale,

on certain types

organization and achievements of material culture

?

This problem has been clearly recognized by the psycho-analytic

writers

their principles to the

culture.

who have been applying

study of myth, reUgion, and

But the theory of how the constitution

of the

family influences culture and society through the forces of the

family

complex has not been worked out

^ I refer to Mr. J. C. Fliigel's The Psycho- Analytic Study of the Family, which, though written by a psychologist, is throughout orientated in the sociological direction. The later chapters, especially XV and XVII, contain much which is an approach to the present problem, although the writer does not formulate it explicitly.


SEX AND REPRESSION

6

Most of the views bearing on

correctly.

this second

problem need a thorough revision from the sociological

The concrete

point of view.

solutions,

on the other

Rank and Jones of the actual mythological problems are much sounder than their general principle that the " myth is the secular dream hand, offered by Freud,

of the race ".

by emphasizing that the

Psycho-analysis, of primitive

man

is

interest

centred in himself and in the

people around him, and

is

of a concrete

and dynamic

nature, has given the right foundation to primitive

psychology, hitherto frequently immeshed in a false

view of the dispassionate interest of

and

of

But by ignoring the

about his destiny.

and by making the complex

in nature

with philosophic speculations

concern

his

man

tacit

first

problem,

assumption that the Oedipus

exists in all types of society, certain errors

have crept into the anthropological work

Thus they cannot reach

analysts.

of psycho-

correct results

when they try to trace the Oedipus complex,

essentially

patriarchal in character, in a matrilineal society

;

or

when they play about with

the hypotheses of group-

marriage or promiscuity, as

if

no special precautions

were necessary when approaching conditions so entirely foreign

to

the

family as

it

Involved

in

is

constitution

known

such

of

our

contradictions,

logizing psycho-analyst

own form

of

to psycho-analytic practice.

the

anthropo-

makes a hypothetical assump-


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX tion about

some type

of primitive horde, or

a prehistoric prototype of the totemic

about

sacrifice,

about the dream character of the myth,

7

or

usually

quite incompatible with the fundamental principles of psycho-analysis itself.

Part

I

of

the

work

present

is

attempt based on facts observed at savages, to discuss the of

the

nuclear

the family. is

first

problem

essentially

first

an

hand among

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;the dependence

complex upon the constitution of

The treatment

of the second

problem

reserved for Part II, while in the last two parts the

same twin subjects

are discussed in a general manner.


II

THE FAMILY

AND

IN FATHER-RIGHT

MOTHER-RIGHT '

I

^HE

best waj^ to examine this

what manner the

'

family complex

and modified by the constitution given society to follow

course of

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

is

problem

first '

is

influenced

of the family in a

to enter concretely into the matter,

up the formation typical family

the complex in the

of

and to do

life,

it

paratively in the case of different civilizations.

not

propose here to survey

family, but shall

to

me from

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in

compare

personal

forms of

all

in detail

two

observation

:

types,

comI

do

human known

the patrilineal

family of modern civilization, and the matrilineal family of certain island communities in North-Western Melanesia.

These

two

cases,

however, represent

perhaps the two most radically different types of family

known

to sociological observation, and will

thus serve our purpose well.

A

few words

will

be

necessary to introduce the Trobriand Islanders of

North-Eastem Melanesia)

who

New will

Guinea

(or

North-Western

form the other term

comparison, besides our

own

culture.

of

our


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX These natives are matrilineal, that in a social order in

the

descend in the female or

they Uve

is,

is

reckoned through

succession

and inheritance

which kinship

mother only, and

9

This means that the boy

line.

belongs to the mother's family, clan and com-

girl

munity

:

the boy succeeds to the dignities and social

position of the mother's brother,

and

not from

it is

the father but from the maternal uncle or maternal aunt, respectively, that a child inherits its possessions.

Every man and woman

in the Trobriands settles

down eventually to matrimony, after a period of sexual by general

play in childhood, followed

and

adolescence,

later

licence in

by a time when the

lovers live

together in a more permanent intrigue, sharing with

two or three other couples a communal house

'.

except

Matrimony, which with

chiefs,

usually

is

who have

'

bachelor's

monogamous,

several

wives,

is

a permanent union, involving sexual exclusiveness, a

common economic At

household.

a

superficial

of marriage

existence,

glance

first

observer

among

entirely different.

to

ourselves.

and an independent might

it

be

appear

exact

the

pattern

In reaUty, however,

To begin

to

it is

the husband

with,

is

not regarded as the father of the children in the sense in which

we use

this

word

he has nothing to do with their to the ideas of the natives, physical fatherhood.

who

;

physiologically birth,

according

are ignorant

Children, in native

belief,

of are


SEX AND REPRESSION

10

generally

by the agency

kinswoman

them

arms

in his

are not

'

his

when

children,

to

'

receive

they are bom, but they

had a share

in the sense that he has

'

spirits,

Her husband has then

and cherish the '

tiny

as

of the spirit of a deceased

of the mother.^

protect

to

womb

mother's

the

into

inserted

in their procreation.

The but

father

not

He

is

a

is

thus a beloved, benevolent friend,

kinsman

recognized

a stranger,

having

the

of

children.

through

authority

his

personal relations to the child, but not through his sociological

that

position

identity of substance,

is

only through the mother. children

vested in

is

this person,

Real kinship,

the lineage.

in

the

owing to the

'same body',

mother's brother.

strict

Now

taboo which prevents

friendly relations between brothers

all

exists

The authority over the

and

sisters,

can never be intimate with the mother, or therefore with her household.

She recognizes

and bends before him

as a

his authority,

commoner

before a chief,

but there can never be tender relations between

Her children

them.

and

successors,

potestas.

At

however, his only heirs

and he wields over them the

his death his worldly

their keeping,

^

are,

and during

his lifetime

direct

goods pass into

he has to hand

See the writer's The Father in Primitive Psychology (Psyche and " Baloma, Spirits of the Dead ", Journ. R.

Miniatures), 1927,

Anthrop.

Inst.. 1916.


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX

ii

over to them any special accomplishment he

may

possess

He

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; dances,

also

it is

who

and

magic

myths,

songs,

supplies his sister

crafts.

and her household

with food, the greater part of his garden produce going to them.

To the

father, therefore, the children look

only

loving

care

for

and tender companionship.

Their mother's brother represents the principle of authority,

discipline,

the family.

The bearing

of the wife

sphere

towards her husband

She has her

at all servile.

own

and executive power within

1

of

influence,

own

possessions

private

and

is

not

and her

public.

It

never happens that the children see their mother

buUied by the father. only

is

partially

work mainly that

work

for his

On

the other hand, the father

bread-winner,

the

own

sisters,

when they grow up they

and

has

while the boys in turn will

to

know

have to

for their sisters' households.

Marriage

is

patrilocal

:

that

is,

the

goes to join

girl

her husband in his house and migrates to his com-

munity, the case.

if

she comes from another, which

The children

munity where they are right to the soil,

therefore

is

grow up

legally strangers,

no lawful pride in the

in general in a

com-

having no

village glory

;

For an account of the strange economic conditions of these see the writer's " Primitive Economics " in Economic Journal, 1921, and Argonauts of the Western Pacific, chapters ii and vi. The legal side has been fully discussed in Crime and Custom ^

natives,

in Savage Society, 1926.


SEX AND REPRESSION

12

while their home, their traditional centre of patriotism,

and

possessions,

their

and confusion

pride

their

of

Strange combina-

ancestorship are in another place. tions

local

with this dual

arise, associated

influence.

From an

early age boys

and

girls of

the same mother

are separated in the family, owing to the strict taboo

which enjoins that there

shall be

between them, and that above

no intimate all

relations

any subject con-

nected with sex should never interest them in common. thus comes about that though the brother

It

the person in authority over the forbids

him to use

of her marriage.

this authority

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

^her

when

it is

really

the taboo

a question

The privilege of giving or withholding

consent, therefore, father

sister,

is

is

left

to the parents, and the

mother's husband

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

is

person

the

who

has most authority, in this one matter of his daughter's marriage.

The great

difference

in

two

the

which we are going to compare clear.

In our

own type

authoritative, powerful

up by

society. 1

We

of

is

family

types

beginning to be

family

we have the

husband and father backed

have also the economic arrange-

" should like to mention that although under " our own I am here speaking about the European and American communities in general, I have in mind primarily the average type of continental family, as this was the material on which the conclusions of psycho-analysis were founded. Whether among the higher social strata of the Western European or of the North American ^

I

civilization


â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

;

THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX ment whereby he nominally at least with them at his

is

i,^

the bread-winner, and can

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;^withhold supplies or be generous

will.

In the Trobriands, on the other

hand, we have the independent mother and her husband, who has nothing to do with the procreation of the children, and is not the bread-winner, who cannot leave

possessions

his

socially

to

the

children,

and

has

The

no estabUshed authority over them.

mother's relatives on the other hand are endowed with

very powerful influence, especially her brother, who

is

the authoritative person, the producer of supplies for the family, and whose possessions the sons will inherit at his death.

Thus the pattern

of social life

and the

constitution of the family are arranged on entirely different lines It

from those

our culture.

might appear that while

to survey the family it is

of

life

it

would be interesting

in a

superfluous to dwell on our

intimately

known

matrilineal society,

own

to everyone of us

family Ufe, so

and so frequently

recapitulated in recent psycho-analytic literature.

might simply take it is

it

essential in a strict

for granted.

But

first

of

We all,

comparative treatment to keep

the terms of the comparison clearly before our eyes we are now slowly moving towards a condition of mothermore akin to the legal ideas of Melanesia than to those of Roman Law and of continental custom, I do not dare to prophesy. If the thesis of this book be correct, some modern developments in matters of sex (" petting parties ", etc.), as well as the weakening of the patriarchal system, should deeply modify the configurations

cities

right

of the sentiments within the family.


SEX AND REPRESSION

14

and then,

since the matriUneal data to be given here

have been collected by special methods of anthropological field

work,

it

is

material into the

indispensable to cast the European

same shape, as if

by the same methods and looked logical point of view.

I

it

at

account any direct

and consistent reference to the

its

any discussion

of

from the anthropo-

have not, as stated already,

found in any psycho-analytic

less

had been observed

how

milieu,

social

still

the nuclear complex and

causes vary with the social stratum in our society.

Yet

obvious that the infantile conflicts will not

it is

be the same in the lavish nursery of the wealthy bourgeois as in the cabin of the peasant, or in the one-

room tenement

Now

of the poor working-man.

just

in order to vindicate the truth of the psycho-analytic

doctrine,

it

would be important to consider the lower

and the ruder strata

where a spade

of society,

a spade, where the child

is

is

called

permanent contact

in

with the parents, living and eating in the same room

and sleeping stitute

'

in the

same bed, where no

'

parent sub-

complicates the picture, no good manners

modify the brutality of the impact, and where the jealousies

in

and petty competitions

hardened though repressed

of daily life clash

hostility.^

^ My personal knowledge of the life, customs and psychology of Eastern European peasants has allowed me to ascertain deep differences between the illiterate and the educated classes of the same society as regards the mental attitude of parents to children

and vice versa.


— THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX It

may

be added that when

complex and

need

not

of

the nuclear

bed-rock of social and biological

its

actuality in order to apply

the

we study

15

to the study of folk-lore,

it

peasant and the

the

neglecting

more urgent.

For the popular

traditions originated in a condition

more akin to that

illiterate classes is still

modern Central and Eastern European peasant,

of the

or of the poor artisan, than to that of the overfed

and nervously overwrought people London, or In

York.

to

make

order

clearly

into

New

I

describing

and

comparison

the

divide

shall

periods,

the

treat

history

each

and comparing

modern Vienna,

of

it

of

stand

of

them

out

childhood separately,

The

in both societies.

clear distinction of stages in the history of family life is

important in the treatment of the nuclear complex,

for psycho-analysis chief merits of

the

—has

—and

here really

lies

one of

its

brought to light the stratification

human mind, and shown

its

rough corre-

spondence to the stages in the child's development.

The

distinct

accompanying

periods

of

repressions

sexuality,

the

and amnesias

crises,

in

the

which

some memories are relegated to the unconscious all

these imply a clear division of the child's

periods.^

For the present purpose

it will

life

into

be enough

1 Although in Professor Freud's treatment of infantile sexuality, the division into several distinct stages plays a fundamental role, yet in his most detailed work on the subject (Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie, 5th edition) the scheme of the successive stages is


SEX AND REPRESSION

i6

to distinguish four periods in the development of the child, defined

by

biological

and

Infancy, in which the

1.

sociological criteria.

baby

is

dependent for

its

nourishment on the mother's breast and for safety

on the protection

of the parent, in

move independently nor

We

ideas.

this period lasts

his

wishes and

reckon this period as ranging from

shall

Among

birth to the time of weaning.

savage peoples,

from about two to three years.

communities

civilized

which he cannot

articulate

about one year only.

it

is

But

much it

is

shorter

In

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

^generally

better to take the

natural landmarks to di\dde the stages of childhood.

The

child

is

at this time physiologically

bound up

with the family. the time in

Babyhood,

2.

which the

offspring,

while attached to the mother and unable to lead

an independent freely play

existence, yet can

round about

period to take

up

her.

first

talk,

and

reckon this

three or four years, and thus bring

the child to the age of about covers the

We

move, shall

six.

This term of

life

gradual severing of the family bonds.

not lucidly nor even explicitly drawn up. This makes the reading book somewhat difficult to a non-specialist in psychoanalysis, and it creates certain ambiguities and contradictions, real and apparent, which the present writer has not yet fully solved. of this

Fliigel's

otherwise excellent exposition of psycho-analysis {op.

cit.)

work which The word sets out to clear up and systematize the doctrine. child throughout the book is used sometimes to mean 'baby ', sometimes adolescent and the sense as a rule has to be inferred from the context. In this respect I hope that the present outline will be of some use.

also suffers from this defect, especially regrettable in a '

'

'

',


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX The

move away from

child learns to

17

the family

and

begins to be self-sufficient.

attainment

the

Childhood,

3.

pendence, the epoch of

is

branches of humanity and in

full

the time also all classes of

membership

the

of

some savages, the preliminary

Among

when

inde-

in all

a society the

some way or other to become

child begins in

into

relative

about and playing

roving

This

with other children.

of

initiated

Among

community.

rites of initiation begin.

and among our own peasants and

others

working people, especially on the Continent, the child begins to be apprenticed to his future economic

In Western

European and American communities This

children begin their schooling at this time. is

life.

the period of the second severing from family

influences,

and

lasts

it

till

puberty, which forms

its

natural term. Adolescence, between physiological puberty

4.

full social

this

epoch

initiation,

tribal

is

is

many savage

and in other

rites of

tribes it is the epoch in

which

law and order lay their claim on the youth In

modem

civilized

communities

the time of secondary and higher schooling,

or else of the final apprenticeship to the

This

and

communities,

encompassed by the principal

and on the maiden. it

In

maturity.

is

life

task.

the period of complete emancipation from

the family atmosphere.

own lower

strata

it

the foundation of a

Among

savages and in our

normally ends with marriage and

new

family.


Ill

THE FIRST STAGE OF THE FAMILY DRAMA TT

is

a general characteristic of the is

not

but has to rely for

its

the offspring

and

cleanliness

arrangements

mammals

and independent

that

at birth,

nourishment, safety, warmth,

comfort

bodily

To

mother.

its

free

on

the

care

of

this correspond the various bodily

of

mother and

child.

Physiologically

there exists a passionate instinctive interest of the

mother

in the child,

and a craving

for the maternal organism, for the

of the suckling

warmth

body, the support of her arms and, above

and contact

At

of her breast.

first

the relation

determined by the mother's selective passion

own

only her

offspring

is

of her

the milk

all,

dear, while the

is

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;to her

baby would

be satisfied with the body of any lactant woman.

But soon the

child also distinguishes,

ment becomes the

of life

mother.

Thus

This link that young

is

first

establishes a link for

birth

child.

founded on the biological fact

mammals cannot

the species depends for strongest

instincts,

his attach-

and individual as that

as exclusive

between mother and

and

its

that

live unaided,

survival on one of the

of 18

and thus

maternal

love.

But


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX society hastens to step in

and to add

19

its at first feeble

In

decree to the powerful voice of nature.

all

human

communities, savage or civilized, custom, law and

sometimes

morals,

take

religion,

bond between mother and

of the at a?

even

cognizance

offspring, usually

early a stage as the beginning of gestation.

The mother, sometimes the various taboos

father also, has to keep

and observances, or perform

womb.

within the social

Birth

is

event, round which

between mother and physiological

its

life

always an important

cluster

many

usages, often associated with religion.

most natural and most

rites

new

which have to do with the welfare of the

traditional

Thus even the

directly biological tie, that

child,

has

as well as

its social

and

determination,

be

cannot

described without reference to the influence exercised

by

the tradition and usage of the community.

Let us briefly summarize and characterize these social

co-determinants of motherhood in

Maternity

society. artistic

ideal

is

our

own

a moral, reUgious and even

of civilization,

a pregnant

woman

is

protected by law and custom, and should be regarded as a sacred object, while she herself ought to feel proud

and happy

in her condition.

which can be reaUzed

is

and ethnographical data.

That

vouched for by

Even

in

an ideal

this is

historical

modem

Europe,

the orthodox Jewish communities of Poland keep it

up

in

practice,

and amongst them a pregnant


;;

SEX AND REPRESSION

20

woman

an object of real veneration, and

is

In

proud of her condition. societies,

the

Christian

among

however, pregnancy

made a burden, and regarded among the well-to-do people it

Aryan

the lower classes

a nuisance

as

is

feels

a

is

source

of

embarrassment, discomfort, and temporary ostracism

from ordinary

social

life.

Since

we thus have

to

recognize the importance of the mother's pre-natal attitude for her future sentiment towards her offspring,

and

since this attitude varies greatly with the milieu

and depends on sociological

At

important that this

social values, it is

problem should be studied more

birth,

the

strengthened

by

society,

and

patterns

biological

instinctive impulses of the

closely.

the

mother are endorsed and which,

many

in

of

its

customs, moral rules and ideals, makes the mother the nurse of the child, and this, broadly speaking, in the low as in the high strata of almost all nations of

Europe.

Yet even here in

mental, so biologically societies

where

a

secured,

relation

there

funda-

are

certain

custom and laxity of innate im-

pulses allow of notable aberrations.

the system of sending the child

year or so of

so

its life

Thus we have

away

for

the

first

to a hired foster mother, a custom

once highly prevalent in the middle classes of France or the almost equally harmful system of protecting

the woman's breasts

by

hiring a foster mother, or

by

feeding the child on artificial food, a custom once


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX among

prevalent

the wealthy classes, though to-day

Here again the

generally stigmatized as unnatural. sociologist has to

add

his share in order to give the

true picture of motherhood, as national, economic

now

Let us

and moral

Melanesiai;

it

varies according to

differences.

turn to consider the same relation

in a matrilineal society

The

21

on the shores

woman shows

of the Pacific.

invariably a passionate

craving for her child, and the surrounding society

seconds her feelings, fosters her incUnations and idealizes

them by custom and

usage.

of pregnancy, the expectant

From

the

first

moments

mother

is

made

to watch

over the welfare of her future offspring

number pregnant

of food taboos

woman

reverence,

an

The

and other observances.

regarded by custom as an object of

ideal

actual behaviour exists

is

by keeping a

and

which

is

fully realized

feelings of these natives.

by the There

an elaborate ceremony performed at the

first

pregnancy, with an intricate and somewhat obscure aim, but emphasizing the importance of the event

and conferring on the pregnant woman

distinction

and

honour. After the birth, mother and child are secluded for

about a month, the mother constantly tending her child

and nursing

it,

while certain female relatives

only are admitted into the hut.

normal circumstances

is

Adoption under

very rare, and even then the

child is usually given over only after it has been


SEX AND REPRESSION

22

weaned, nor

is it

nearest

relatives

vances,

such

child, special

ever adopted

by

exclusively.

A number

as

strangers, but

washing

ritual

of

by

obser-

of

mother and

taboos to be kept by the mother, and

visits of presentation,

bind mother and child by links

custom superimposed upon the natural

ones.^

Thus

adjustment

of

in both societies, to the biological

of instinct there are

added the

morals and manners,

all

social forces of

custom,

working in the same direction

of binding mother and child to each other, of giving

them

scope for the passionate intimacy of mother-

full

This harmony between social and biological

hood.

forces ensures full satisfaction

and the highest

Society co-operates with nature to repeat the

bliss.

happy

womb, broken by the trauma of Rank, in a work which has already

conditions in the Dr.

birth.

proved of some importance for the development of psycho-analysis, 2 has indicated

the significance for

later Ufe of intra-uterine existence

and

its

Whatever we might think about the trauma '

there

is

reaUze,

no doubt that the

by the

working

first

of

months

both

memories. '

of birth,

after birth

biological

and

An

important form of the taboo observed by a mother after birth is the sexual abstinence enjoined upon her. For a beautiful expression of the high moral view of natives concerning this custom see The Contact of Races and Clash of Culture, by G. Pitt-Rivers, ^

1927, chap,

viii, sec. 3.

Das Trauma der Geburt (1924). Needless to say, the conclusions of Dr. Rank's book are entirely unacceptable to the present writer, who is not able to adopt any of the recent developments of psycho*

analysis nor even to understand their meaning.


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX a state of

sociological forces, '

trauma

of weaning.

'

from this state of

broken by

bliss

23 the

The exceptional aberrations be found only

affairs are to

among

the higher strata of civilized communities.

We find

a

much

of the patriarchal

and

it is

greater difference in the fatherhood

and matrilineal family

at this period,

rather unexpected to find that in a savage

where the physical bonds of paternity are

society,

unknown, and where mother should yet stand in a

right obtains, the father

much more

intimate relation to

the children than normally happens

among

ourselves.

For in our own society, the father plays a very small part indeed in the usage,

life

young

of a

By

infant.

and manners, the well-to-do father

is

custom,

kept out

of the nursery, while the peasant or working

man

has to leave the child to his wife for the greater part of the twenty-four hours.

He may

perhaps resent

the attention which the infant claims, and the time

which

it

takes up, but as a rule he neither helps nor

interferes with a small child.

Among the Melanesians purely social relation

duty towards his

them

'

fatherhood,' as

wife's children

into his arms

',

we know, is a

Part of this relation consists in his

.

;

he

is

there to receive '

a phrase we have already quoted

;

he has to carry them about when on the march the

mother

is tired,

and he has to

assist in the nursing at

home. He tends them in their natural needs, and cleanses them, and there are

many

stereotyped expressions


SEX AND REPRESSION

24

in the native language referring to fatherhood its

hardships,

A

him.

and to the duty

of fiUal gratitude

typical Trobriand father

and conscientious nurse and

in this

children, all

is

towards

a hard-working

is

he obeys the

The

of duty, expressed in social tradition.

however, that the father

and

call

fact

is,

always interested in the

sometimes passionately

so,

and performs

his duties eagerly and fondly.

Thus, if we compare the patriarchal and the matriUneal relation at this early stage,

we see that

In our society, the father

difference lies with the father. is

kept

weU

nate part.

out of the picture,

with

and has at best a subordi-

In the Trobriands, he plays a

active role, which gives

the main point of

is

important above

all

much more because

it

him a far greater scope for forming ties of affection his

children.

In

both

found with a few exceptions,

societies

little

between the biological trend and the

room

there

is

for conflict,

social conditions.


IV

FATHERHOOD

TX 7E

IN

MOTHER-RIGHT

have now reached the period when the child already weaned,

is

and begins to speak. gaining

when

it is

learning to walk

Yet biologically

it is

but slowly

independence from the mother's body.

its

It clings to her

with undiminished, passionate desire

for her presence, for the touch of her

body and the

tender clasp of hen arms.

This

is

the natural, biological tendency, but in our

society, at

one stage or another, the child's desires are

crossed and thwarted. Let us

first

realize that the period

upon which we now enter is introduced by the process of

By this the blissful harmony of infantile life is broken, or at least modified. Among the higher classes, weaning.

weaning that

it

women is

is

so

graduated

prepared,

usually passes without

and adjusted

any shock.

But among

of the lower classes, in our society,

weaning

often a painful wrench for the mother and certainly

for

the child.

Later on,

other obstacles tend

to

obtrude upon the intimacy of the mother with the child,

whom at that stage a notable change is taking place. He becomes independent in his movements, can feed

in

himself, express

some

of his feelings 25

and

ideas,

and


SEX AND REPRESSION

26

begins to understand and to observe. classes,

In the higher

the nursery arrangements separate the mother

from the child in a gradual manner. with any shock, but

it

This dispenses

leaves a gap in the child's

a yearning and an unsatisfied need.

life,

In the lower

where the child shares the parents' bed,

classes,

becomes

at a certain time a source of

and an encumbrance, and

suffers

it

embarrassment

a rude and more

brutal repulsion.

How

does savage motherhood on the coral islands

New

of

Guinea compare at this stage with ours

First of

all,

at a time

weaning takes place much

when the

run about,

eat

other interests.

when the breast '

child

is

?

life,

already independent, can

and foUow

everjrthing

practically It

later in

takes place, that

is,

at a

moment

child neither wants nor needs the mother's

any more, so that the

first

wrench

is

eliminated.

Matriarchate,' the rule of the mother, does not in

any way

entail a

stem, terrible mother-virago.

The

Trobriand mother carries her children, fondles them,

and plays with them

at this stage quite as lovingly

as at the earlier period,

expects

it

from

her.

and custom as well as morals

The

child

is

bound to

her, also,

according to law, custom and usage, by a closer

than

is

tie

her husband, whose rights are subservient

to those of the offspring.

The psychology

of the

intimate marital relations has therefore a different character,

and the repulsion

of the

child

from the


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX mother by the father occurrence,

is

certainly

ever occurs at

if it

not

27

a typical

Another difference

all.

between the Melanesian and the typical European

mother

is

that the former

Since there

any moral education and

room

for severity.

is

the

and

to

among

us

the

desire

win her approval.

remembered,

is

one

attachment among

of

us,

for the

relation in later

begins

is

is

scarcely

;

to

of severity

on the other hand,

lessens the feeling of interest

child,

possibilities

what there

hand such aberrations

as are sometimes found

of

since

;

indulgent.

and hardly

This absence of maternal discipUne

precludes on the one

it

much more

done by other people, there

later

however,

is

training of the child,

is little

please

the

This desire,

the strong

on the part

it

Unks

mother,

must be of

filial

and one which holds great

establishment

of a

permanent

life.

Turning now to the paternal relation we see that, our society, irrespective of nationality or social the father is

still

enjoys the patriarchal status.^

in

class,

He

the head of the family and the relevant link in

the lineage, and he

is

also the economic provider.

^ Here again I should like to make an exception with regard to the modern American and British family. The father is in process of losing his patriarchal position. As conditions are in

however, it is not safe to take them into consideration here. Psycho-analysis cannot hope, I think, to preserve its " Oedipus complex " for future generations, who will only know a weak and henpecked father. For him the children will feel indulgent pity rather than hatred and fear flux,

!


SEX AND REPRESSION

28

As an absolute

ruler of the family,

become a tyrant,

in

which case

he

is

liable to

frictions of all sorts

The

between him and his wife and children.

arise

depend greatly on the

details of these

social milieu.

In the wealthy classes of Western civilization, the child is well separated

from his father by

all sorts

Although constantly with

of nursery arrangements.

the nurse, the child is usually attended to and controlled

by the mother, who,

in such cases, almost invariably

takes the dominant place in the child's affections.

The father, on the other hand,

is

seldom brought within

the child's horizon, and then only as an onlooker

and

stranger,

before

whom

behave themselves, show

the

children

and perform.

off

have to

He

is

the

source of authority, the origin of punishment, and therefore becomes a bogey.

a mixture

he

;

is

Usually the result

is

the perfect being for whose benefit

everything has to be done

whom

and, at the same time,

;

the child has to fear and

he

is

for

whose comfort, as the child soon reaUzes, the house-

hold

the

is

'

ogre

arranged.

will easily

'

The loving and sympathetic

assume the former

pompous, wooden, or suspicion

role of a demi-god.

tactless

and even hate

one

will

father

The

soon earn the

of the nursery.

In relation

to the father, the mother becomes an intermediary

who

is

sometimes ready to denounce the child to

the higher authority, but

who

intercede against punishment.

at the

same time can


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX The picture

is different,

though the

29

results are not

one-room and one-bed households

dissimilar, in the

of the poor peasantry of Central

and Eastern Europe,

or of the lower working classes.

The

father

is

brought

with the child, which in rare

into closer contact

circumstances allows of a greater affection, but usually

much more acute and chronic friction. When a father returns home tired from work, or drunk gives rise to

from the

inn,

mother and

children.

no poor quarter in a

modem

and

family, village,

he naturally vents his ill-temper on the

bullies

There

is

no

town, where

cases could not be found of sheer, patriarchal cruelty.

From my own memory,

could quote numerous

I

cases where peasant fathers would, on returning

home

drunk, beat the children for sheer pleasure, or drag

them out

Even

of

at

bed and send them into the cold night. best,

when the working

father returns

home, the children have to keep quiet, stop rowdy

games and repress spontaneous, of joy

The father

and sorrow.

of punishment in

mother acts as

is

a supreme source

poor households

intercessor,

outbursts

childish

also,

while the

and often shares

treatment meted out to the children.

in the

In the poorer

households, moreover, the economic role of provider

and the and

social

power

of the father are

definitely recognized,

and

act in the

more quickly

same

direction

as his personal influence.

The

role of the Melanesian father at this stage is


SEX AND REPRESSION

30

very different from that of the European patriarch. I

have

briefly sketched in

social position as

Chapter IV his very different

husband and

He

plays in the household.

father, is

and the part he

not the head of the

family, he does not transmit his lineage to his children,

nor

is

he the main provider of food.

This entirely

changes his legal rights and his personal attitude to his wife.

A

Trobriand

his wife, hardly ever will

man

seldom quarrel with

will

attempt to brutalize her, and he

never be able to exercise a permanent tyranny.

Even sexual co-habitation

is

not regarded by native

law and usage as the wife's duty and the husband's privilege, as is the case in

the husband

is

The Trobriand

our society.

natives take the view, dictated

by

tradition,

that

indebted to his wife for sexual services,

that he has to deserve

them and pay

for

them.

One

of the ways, the chief way, in fact, of acquitting

himself of this duty children

many

is

and showing

by performing

these

There are

affection to them.

native sayings which

folk-lore

services for her

principles.

embody In

the

in a sort of loose child's

infancy

the husband has been the nurse, tender and loving later

on in early childhood he plays with

and teaches

it

it,

carries

;

it,

such amusing sports and occupations

as take its fancy.

Thus the of the tribe

legal,

and

all

moral and customary tradition the forces of organization combine

to give the man, in his conjugal

and paternal

rdle.


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX an entirely

And though it

permeates

all

the

The children never

every detail of daily relations

see their

within

not even when she

They never not

is

feel his

upon her husband,

a commoner married to a chief.

heavy hand on themselves

He

he

;

has no rights or prerogatives.

as does every normal father

feels,

there.

kinsman, nor their owner, nor their

their

benefactor.

the

mother subjugated or

brutalized or in abject dependence

he

detached

and dominates the sentiments found

family,

is

a patriarch.

legal principle,

It expresses itself in

life.

existence,

of

has to be defined in an abstract manner,

by no means a mere

this is

from

from that

different attitude

31

world, a strong affection for

them

;

and

Yet

all

over the

this,

together

with his traditional duties, makes him try to win their

and thus to

love,

retain his influence over them.

Comparing European with Melanesian paternity, is

well

the

as

and tender

affectionate

But

this

in

the

many

on a parent.

and

in

feelings

for

hardships

When,

his

children.

which

children

therefore, society steps is

the

and that the children should be there

for his benefit, pleasure

the

is

a tendency towards

one case declares that the father

absolute master,

tilts

man

there

tendency seems not to be strong enough

outweigh

entail

Biologically

sociological.

undoubtedly in the average

to

it

important to keep in mind the biological facts as

and

balance against

glory, this social influence

a happy equilibrium of


SEX AND REPRESSION

32 natural

affection

and natural

impatience

When, on the other hand, a

nuisance.

society grants the father

no

privileges

to his children's affections, then he

and when

again,

in

the

of

matrilineal

and no

right

must earn them,

the same uncivilized society,

there are fewer strains on his nerves and his ambitions

and

his

himself

economic

up to

his

responsibilities,

he

is

paternal instincts.

freer to give

Thus

society the adjustment between biological forces,

which was satisfactory in

begins to

show a lack

of

earliest

harmony

and

a

is

source of family conflict, in

social

childhood,

later on.

Melanesian society, the harmonious relations

Father -right, we have seen,

in our

In the

persist.

to a great extent

that

it

grants

to

the father social claims and prerogatives not com-

mensurate with his biological propensities, nor with the personal affection which he can feel for and arouse in his children.


INFANTILE SEXUALITY

T^RAVERSING

the same ground as Freud and the

psycho-analysts,

I

have yet tried to keep clear

of the subject of sex, partly in order to

the sociological aspect in to avoid of

moot

my

emphasize

account, partly in order

theoretical distinctions as to the nature

mother-and-child attachment or the libido '

this stage, as the children begin to play

and develop an

accessible

to

independently

interest in the surrounding

people, sexuality

makes

outside

its first

life.^

work and

appearance in forms

sociological

directly affecting family

But at

' .

A

and

observation

careful observer of

European children, and one who has^not forgotten

his

own

childhood, has to recognize that at an early age,

say,

between three and

four, there arises in

a special sort of interest and curiosity.

world of lawful, normal and nice '

^

The reader who

'

Besides the

things, there opens

interested in infantile sexuality

is

them

and child

psychology should also consult A. Moll, Das Sexualleben des Kindes Havelock Ellis's Studies in the Psychology of Sex (1919 ed., (1908) pp. 13 seqq., also vol. i, 1910 ed., pp. 36 seqq. and 235 seqq. and passim). The books of Ploss-Renz, Das Kind in Brauch und Sitte der Volker (Leipzig, 1911-12); Charlotte Biihler, Das Seelenleben des Jugendlichen (1925) and the works of William Stern on Child Psychology are also important. ;

;

33

D


'

SEX AND REPRESSION

34

up a world

of shame-faced desires, clandestine interests

The two

and subterranean impulses. things,

'

decent

categories of

and indecent ', pure and impure '

'

'

'

destined to remain

begin to crystallize,

categories

throughout

some people the

In

life.

',

'

'

'

indecent

becomes completely suppressed, and the right values of decency

become

hypertrophied

virtue of the puritan,

into

or the

the

virulent

more repulsive

still

hypocrisy of the conventionally moral. Or the decent '

altogether smothered through glut in pornographic

is

satisfaction,

and the other category develops into

a complete pruriency of mind, not

than hypocritical

'

virtue

'

less

itself.

In the second stage of childhood which considering, that

is

according to

my

we

round

exhibitionism

interests

and games

of reproduction.

indecent

witii

often associated with cruelty.

between the sexes, and

excretory

in

now

'

indecent functions,

exposure,

hardly differentiates

It

is little

are

scheme from

an age of about four to six years, the centres

repulsive

interested in the act

Anyone who has

lived for a long

time among peasants and knows intimately their child-

hood

will recognize that this state of affairs exists as

thing normal, though not open. classes things

^

seem to be

That conscientious

similar.*

sociologist, Zola,

Among the working Among the higher

has provided us with rich

material on the subject, entirely in agreement with tions.

a

my own observa-


''

THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX classes

'

indecencies

'

much more

are

35

suppressed, but

not very different. Observations in these social strata,

which would be more

difficult

than among peasants,

should, however, be urgently carried out for pedagogical,

moral and eugenic reasons, and suitable methods research

of

confirm to an

would,

results

extraordinary

Freud and

assertions of

How

The

devised.

I

degree some

think, of

the

his school.^

does the newly awakened infantile sexuaUty

or infantile indecency influence the relation to the

family

In the division between things

?

and indecent '

',

and remain

by the

wholly

within

the

category,

first

mind absolutely untouched

in the child's

indecent.'

'

decent

the parents, and especially the mother,

included

are

'

The

feeling

might be aware of any prurient

that

the mother

infantile

extremely distasteful to the child, and there

is

play

is

a strong

disinclination to allude in her presence or to speak

with her about any sexual matters.

who

also

is

kept strictly outside the

The '

father,

indecent

category, is, moreover, regarded as the moral authority

whom ^

these thoughts and pastimes would offend.

Freud's contentions of the normal occurrence of premature between the sexes, of anal-eroticism

sexuality, of little differentiation

of genital interest are, according to my observations, In a recent article (Zeitschrift ]ur Psycho-Analyse, 1923), Freud has somewhat modified his previous view, and affirms, without giving arguments, that children at this stage have, after all, already

and absence correct.

a

'

genital

'

interest.

With

this I

cannot agree.


SEX AND REPRESSION

36

For the

'

indecent

'

always carries with

it

a sense of

guilt.i

Freud and the psycho-analjrtic school have

laid great

on the sexual rivalry between mother and

stress

opinion

and son

father

daughter, is

that

the

respectively.

My own

between mother and

rivalry

At any

daughter does not begin at this early stage. rate,

I

have never observed any

relations

The

it.

between father and son are more complex.

Although, as

have

I

said, the little

boy has no thoughts,

or impulses towards his

desires

traces of

mother which he

himself would feel belong to the category of the 'indecent', there

can be no doubt that a young

organism reacts

sexually

with the mother.

2

A

to

close

bodily

contact

well-known piece of advice

^ The attitude of the modern man and woman is rapidly changing. At present we studiously enlighten our children, and keep sex neatly prepared for them. In the first place, however, we must remember that we are dealing here with a minority even among '

'

'

'

the British and American " intelligentsia ". In the second place, I am not at all certain whether the bashfulness and awkward attitude of children towards their parents in matters of sex will be to any great extent overcome by this method of treatment. There seems to exist a general tendency even among adults to eliminate the dramatic, upsetting, and mysterious emotional elements out of any stable relationship based on every-day intercourse. Even among unrepressed Trobrianders the parent is never the essentially '

'

the confidant in matters of sex. It it is

to

make any

is

remarkable how

much

easier

delicate or shameful confession to those friends

and acquaintances who are not too intimately connected with our daily hfe.

Since this was first written in 1921, I have changed my views The statement that 'a young organism reacts sexually to close bodily contact with the mother appears to me *

on this subject.

'


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX by

given

young mothers

old gossips to

communities

is

37

in peasant

to the effect that boys above the age

of three should sleep separately from the mother.

The occurrence

of infantile erections is well

in these communities, as clings to the

mother

is

known boy

also the fact that the

in a different

way from

the

girl.

That the father and the young male child have a

component

under such conditions

of sexual rivalry

seems probable, even to an outside sociological observer.

Among

The psycho-analysts maintain it categorically.

the wealthier classes crude conflicts arise more seldom, if

ever,

refined It

but they arise in imagination and in a more

though perhaps not

less insidious form.

must be noted that at

begins to

show a

this stage

different character

when the

child

and temperament

according to sex, the parents' feelings are differentiated

between sons and daughters.

The

who

son his successor, the one

is

father sees in the

to replace

the family lineage and in the household. therefore all the feelings in

two

more

critical,

directions

:

and

if

of mental or physical deficiency,

him

He becomes

this influences his

the boy shows signs if

he

is

not up to the

type of the ideal in which the father believes, he

be a source of bitter disappointment and

On

the other

in

will

hostility.

hand, even at this stage, a certain

now absurd. I am glad I may use this strong word, having written the absurd statement myself. I have set forth what appears to me the adequate analysis of this phase in infantile psychology later on, Part IV, Chapter IX.


â&#x20AC;&#x201D; SEX AND REPRESSION

38

amount

of rivalry, the resentment of future super-

session,

and the melancholy of the waning generation Repressed in both cases, this

lead again to hostility.

hostility hardens the father against the son

by reaction a

and provokes

The mother,

response in hostile feelings.

on the other hand, has no grounds

negative

for

sentiments, and has an additional admiration for the

man

son as a

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

daughter hardly

The

to be.

father's feeling towards the

a repetition of himself in a feminine form to evoke a tender emotion,

fails

Thus

also to flatter his vanity.

and perhaps

social factors

mix

with biological and make the father cUng more tenderly to the daughter than to the son, while with the mother it

But

the reverse.

is

must be noted that an

it

attraction to the offspring of the other sex, because is of

the other sex,

In Melanesia, of sexual

could

an altogether

do not essentially

But be

I

clandestine

functions

have

called

subterranean in

find

or

differ,

failed to find

infantile

world

in

pastimes

different

type

That the biological

development in the child.

impulses doubt.

not necessarily sexual attraction.

is

we

it

any traces

indecencies,

which

beyond

seems

children

of

or

what of

a

indulge

centring

round excretory

The

subject naturally

exhibitionism.

presents certain difficulties of observation, for

it

is

hard to enter into any personal communication with a savage child, and

if

there were a world of indecent

things as amongst ourselves,

it

would be as

futile


â&#x20AC;&#x201D; THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX to inquire

about

it

39

from an average grown-up native

as from a conventional mother, father, or nurse in

But there

our society.

is

one circumstance which

makes matters so

entirely

natives that there

no danger

with them there

this is that

censure,

is

no moral reprobation

of the genital

later stage

among

different of

these

making a mistake

:

no repression, no

is

of infantile sexuality

type when it comes to light at a somewhat

than the one we are now considering

at about the age of five or six. earlier indecency, this

So

if

could be as

there were easily

any

observed

as the later genital stage of sexual plays.

How there '

is

can we then explain

no period

anal-erotic

this

better

'

interest

why among

what Freud

of ?

when we

calls

'

savages

pre-genital',

We shall be able to understand discuss the

sexuality of the

next stage in the child's development, a sexuality in

which native Melanesian children

from our own.

differ essentially


VI

APPRENTICESHIP TO LIFE

TX 7E

now on

enter

the third stage of childhood,

commencing between the ages At

same

own games,

age, with

whom

it

and seven.

begins to feel independent,

this period a child

to create its

of five

to seek for associates of the

has a tendency to roam about

unencumbered by grown-up people.

This

when play begins

definite occupa-

tions

and

serious

more

to pass into

the time

life interests.

In Europe,

Let us follow our parallel at this stage. entrance into school or,

some

is

among

the uneducated classes,

sort of preliminary apprenticeship to

an economic

occupation removes the child from the influence of the family.

The boy or

their exclusive

girl

lose

to

some extent

attachment to the mother.

With the

boy, there frequently takes place at this period a transference of sentiment to a substitute for the

time being

passionate tenderness

is

mother,

who

regarded with some of the

felt for

the mother, but with no

other feelings.

Such transference must not be con-

fused with the

much

boys to

fall

in love with

At the same time, there

later

tendency of adolescent

women arises 40

older than themselves.

a desire for independence


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX from the all-possessive intimacy of maternal which makes the child withhold

Among

from the parent.

classes, the process of

interest,

absolute confidence

the peasants and lower

emancipation from the mother

than

takes place earlier

its

41

the higher,

in

When

similar in all essentials.

but

the mother

is

it

deeply

attached to the child, especially to the boy, she apt to

feel

amount

a certain

This usually

painful

and

its

violent.

show a

even more

in

makes the wrench only more

The children on the Pacific

is

and resentment

and to put obstacles

at this emancipation

way.

of jealousy

is

coral beaches of the

similar tendency.

clearly,

for

Western

This appears there

the absence of compulsory

education and of any strict discipline at this age allows a

much

freer play to the natural inclinations

of infantile nature. is

in

Melanesia,

On

the part of the mother there

or anxiety at the child's

and here we

no jealous resentment

however,

new-found independence,

see the influence of the lack of

any deep,

educational interest between mother and child. this stage, the children in the

At

Trobriand archipelago

begin to form a small juvenile community within the community.

They roam about

in bands, play

on

distant beaches or in secluded parts of the jungle, join with other small

communities of children from

neighbouring villages, and in

obey the commands of their

all

this,

though they

child-leaders, they are


â&#x20AC;&#x201D; SEX AND REPRESSION

42

almost

to interfere with

any

the

of

elders'

The parents never try to keep them back,

authority.

to

independent

completely

them At

routine.

any way or to bind them

in

of course, the family

first,

still

retains a considerable hold over the child, but the

process

emancipation progresses gradually and

of

constantly in an untrammelled, natural manner. In this there

is

a great difference between European

where the child often passes from the

conditions,

intimacy of the family to the cold discipline of the school or other preliminary training, and the Melanesian state of affairs where the process of emancipation is

gradual, free and pleasailt.

And now what about

the father at this stage

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;here again

?

excluding certain modern

In our society

America

and

phases

of

he

represents the principle of authority within

still

family

the family.

Outside,

at the preliminary of

peasants

at

in the

school,

set

to

do,

In

the

higher

classes

at

child

is

either

the

who

wields

the

this

stage,

the

it

father in person or his substitute

power.

workshop,

manual labour which the

often

is

Britain

in

life

very important process of conscious formation of paternal authority and

The

place.

what father's

family,

child

had

it

and

his

begins

guessed

established

the father

of

now

and

ideal

comprehend

to

felt

takes

before

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the

authority as the head of the

economic influence.

The

ideal of his


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX wisdom,

infallibility,

and

in varying degrees

and might

justice,

Now the role

and moral teaching.

an easy one, and to maintain daily

life

a

is

very

especially for one

it

of

in reUgious

an ideal

is

never

in the intimacy

of

performance indeed,

difficult

whose bad tempers and

follies

are

Thus no sooner

not repressed by any discipline.

is

it

begins to decompose.

child feels at first only a

vague malaise at his

the father ideal formed than

The

usually

ways inculcated

in different

by the mother or the nurse

in the child

is

43

father's

bad temper or weakness, a

fear of his wrath,

a dim feeling of injustice, perhaps some shame when the father has a really bad outburst. father-sentiment

is

formed,

Soon the typical of

full

contradictory

emotions, a mixture of reverence, contempt, affection

and

tenderness and fear.

dislike,

It is at this period

of childhood that the social influence

makes

institutions

itself felt in

towards the male parent.

due to patriarchal

the child's attitude

Between the boy and

father the rivalries of successor

his

and superseded, and

the mutual jealousies described in the previous section, crystallize

elements

more

distinctly

the

of

dominant than

Among the

and make the negative

father-to-son

relation

more pre-

in the case of father-to-daughter.

lower classes, the process of the idealiza-

tion of the father is cruder but not less important.

As

I

have already

household

is

said, the father in a typical peasant

openly a tyrant.

The mother acquiesces


SEX AND REPRESSION

44 in his

supremacy and imparts the attitude to her

who

children,

reverence and at the same time fear

the strong and brutal force embodied in their father.

Here also a sentiment composed is

of ambivalent emotion

formed, with a distinct preference of the father

for his female children.

What

the father's role in Melanesia

is

be said about

it

at

this

He

stage.

continues to

befriend the children, to help them, to teach

what they it is

like

and as much

as they like.

true, are less interested in

prefer,

father

him

them

Children,

at this stage

on the whole, their small comrades. is

need

Little

?

and

But the

always there as a helpful adviser, half play-

mate, half protector.

Yet at

this period the principle of tribal

authority, the submission to constraint

law and

and

to the

prohibition of certain desirable things enters the of a

young

or boy.

girl

are represented father,

But

this

life

law and constraint

by quite another person than the

by the mother's brother, the male head

of the

He it is who actually who indeed makes ample

family in a matriarchal society. wields

the potestas and

use of

it.

His authority, though closely parallel to that of the father

with

it.

ourselves,

is

not exactly identical

First of all his influence is introduced into

the child's father.

among life

Then

much

later

than that of the European

again, he never enters the intimacy


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX of family

life,

45

but lives in another hut and often in a

different village, for, since marriage is patrilocal in the

Trobriands, his sister and her children have their abode

husband and

in the village of the

power

is

He

whether boy or

girl,

brings into the

two elements and

prohibition

duty,

especially into the

which are

of the child,

life

first

:

his

cannot

it

in those small matters

most irksome.

of

a distance and

exercised from

become oppressive

Thus

father.

constraint

:

of

all,

that

secondly,

of the boy, the elements of

life

ambition, pride and social values, half of that, in fact,

which makes

life

worth living

The constraint comes

in,

in

for the Trobriander.

so

far

as

he begins

to direct the boy's occupations, to require certain of his services

and

and to teach him some

prohibitions.

Many

inculcated into the boy (mother's brother) real authority

A boy of six to

parents, but the kada

always held up to him as the

is

behind the will

have already been

of these

by the

of the tribal laws

rules.

be solicited by his mother's brother

come on an expedition,

to begin

some work

gardens, to assist in the carrying of crops.

out these

activities,

in his maternal uncle's village

and together with other members learns that he

clan

;

is

;

of his clan, the

boy

contributing to the hutura of his

he begins to

and own people

in the

In carrying

feel

that this

is his

to learn the traditions,

legends of his clan.

The

child

at

this

own

village

myths and stage also


46

SEX AND REPRESSION

frequently

co-operates

interesting

to

with his father,

is

it

note the difference in the attitude

The

he has toward the two elders.

remains his intimate assist

and

he

;

likes to

him and learn from him

father

still

work with him,

but he reahzes more

;

and more that such co-operation

based on goodwill

is

and not on law, and that the pleasure derived from must be

its

own

reward, but that the glory of

The

to a clan of strangers.

child also sees his

it

it

goes

mother

receiving orders from her brother, accepting favours

from him, treating him with the greatest reverence, crouching before him like a commoner to a chief.

He

gradually begins to understand that he

is

his

maternal uncle's successor, and that he will also be

a master over his

sisters,

by a

already separated

is

from

whom

at this time he

taboo forbidding

social

any intimacy.

The maternal uncle

who should be

is,

like the father

model to be imitated in the most

of the elements,

among

He

the

Thus we

future.

though not

difficult in

Melanesians

has the power, he

us,

and who must be made the

pleased,

the father's r61e so

among

held up to him as the person

idealized to the boy,

in

all,

see that

which make

our society, are vested the

is idealized,

mother's to

him the

brother.

children

and the mother are subjected, while the father is entirely reUeved of all these odious prerogatives and characteristics.

But the mother's brother introduces


â&#x20AC;&#x201D; THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX new elements which make

the child to certain

more

bigger,

47

interesting,

and

greater

of

life

appeal

social ambition, traditional glory, pride in his lineage

and

kinship, promises of future wealth, power,

and

social status. It

must be

European complex

realized that at

child

to

starts

when our way in our

the time

find

its

social relations, the Melanesian girl or

boy

also begins to grasp the principle of kinship which is

the main foundation of the social order.

These

principles cut across the intimacy of family life

and

up

rearrange for the child the social world which

to

now

of

family,

consisted for further

The

community.

distinguish above

To

veyola.

mother,

his

uncle and

himself.

child

now

brothers

and

The women

of his clan

related

his real

kinsmen,

first

place his

his

maternal

These are people who

same substance or the

'

same body

to obey,

to

'

as

co-operate

work, war and personal quarrels.

and

tabooed sexually for him.

this

of

sisters,

kinsmen.

assist in

By

village

learns that he has to

consists

The men he has

of

and

neighbours

these belong in the

with and to

consists

the extended

circles

and across these groups two main

all their

are of the

of

family,

The one

categories. his

him

of his kinship are strictly

The other

the stran^gers or

name are called all by matrilineal ties,

'

social category

outsiders

those people or

',

tomakava.

who

are not

who do not belong

to


SEX AND REPRESSION

48 the

same

father

and

But

clan.

group comprises also the

this

his relations,

male and female, and the

women whom he may marry have love

affairs.

Now

or with

these people,

whom and

he

may

especially

the father, stand to him in a very close personal relation which, however,

and moraUty.

is

by law

entirely ignored

Thus we have on the one

side the

consciousness of identity and kinship associated with social ambitions

and

pride,

and sexual prohibition relation to the father

;

and

but also with constraint

and on the other,

in the

his relatives, free friendship

and natural sentiment

as well as sexual liberty, but

no personal identity or

traditional bonds.


VII

THE SEXUALITY OF LATER CHILDHOOD

TT TE

now

pass

to the problem of sexual

third period call

it,

which

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;the

life

later childhood, as

in the

we might

covering the stage of free play and movement,

from about

lasts

five or

six

till

puberty.

I

kept the discussion of sex separate from that of the social

influences

period of child

when

life,

and

with the

dealing I

shall

previous

do the same here, so

as to bring out clearly the respective contributions of

organism and society. In modern Europe, according to Freud, there sets

in

at

this

age a very curious phenomenon

regression of sexuaUty, in the

a period of latency, a

the lull

development of sexual functions and impulses.

What makes

this latency period especially

Freudian scheme of neuroses

in the

which

:

is

associated with

it,

is

the curtain of complete

oblivion which falls at this period

and which

the reminiscences of infantile sexuahty.

enough,

this

of Freud's

is

important

the amnesia

obliterates

Remarkably

important and interesting contention not endorsed by other students.

instance, Moll, in his

memoir on 49

For

infantile sexuality

B


SEX AND REPRESSION

50

very thorough and competent contribution)/ makes

(a

no mention of any

lull in

sexual development.

contrary, his account implies a steady

On

the

and gradual

increase of sexuality in the child, the curve rising in a continuous

manner without any kink.

It

is

remarkable to 'find that Freud himself at times appears

Thus

to vacillate.

of all the periods of childhood

this

one has no clear and explicit chapter devoted

to

and

it

in one or

two places Freud even withdraws

about

his contention

its

Yet,

existence.^

affirm on the basis of material derived

if

I

may

from personal

knowledge of well-educated schoolboys, the latency period invariably sets in

and

lasts

at

about the sixth year

from two to four years.

interest in indecencies

colours which they

flags,

How

interest

this

time

the lurid yet alluring

had fade away, and they are

repressed and forgotten while

take up the

During

new

things arise to

and energy.

we to explain the divergency in Freud's own views as weU as the ignoring of the facts by other are

students of sex It

*

is

clear

?

that

we do not

deal

here with

a

A. Moll, Das Sexualleben des Kindes, 1908.

The latency period

is frequently mentioned, for instance, in Drei Abhandlungen, 5th edition, pp. 40, 44, 64 Vorlesungen, 1922, p. 374. But there is no special treatment of it in any of these books. Again, we read, " Die Latenzzeit kann auch entfallen. Sie braucht â&#x20AC;˘

;

keine Unterbrechung der Sexualbetatigung, der Sexualinteressen

mit sich zu bringen," Vorlesungen,

loc. cit.


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX phenomenon deeply rooted but with one largely social factors.

if

we

If

in

man's organic nature,

not wholly determined by

turn to a comparative survey

of the various layers of society,

that

difficulty

among

pronounced. cast

among

perceive without especially

much

is

In order to see matters clearly,

back to the previous period

genital sexuaUty

saw

we

the lower classes,

the latency period

peasants,

in Chapter

and

V

51

how

see

let

of infantile

the two

less

link up.

us

pre-

We

that in the lower as well as in the

higher strata there exists at an early age this strong interest in the 'indecent'.

however,

it

Among

appears somewhat later and has a shghtly

different character.

Let us compare once more the

sources of 'anal-eroticism', as

among

peasant children,

it is

called

by Freud,

the children of the lower and higher classes.^

In the nursery of the weU-to-do baby, the natural functions,

the

interest

in

are

excretion,

encouraged, and then suddenly stopped. or mother,

who up

at

first

The nurse

to a certain point tries to stimulate

the performance, praises the prompt execution and

shows the

results, discovers at

the child takes too to play in a

much

a certain moment that

interest in

it

and begins

manner that to the grown-up appears

unclean, though to the child

it is

perfectly natural.

^ I would not now use the ugly neologism anal-eroticism ', but as long as a term is defined there is no harm in borrowing it from a dctrine which is being discussed. '


SEX AND REPRESSION

52

Then the nursery authority makes

an

it

and

offence,

The

repressed.

steps in, slaps the child,

and the

interest

is

violently

child grows up, the reticences, frowns,

begin

artificialities

to

surround

the

natural

and mysterious

functions with clandestine interest attraction.

Those who remember from their own childhood

how

strongly

hints

and sous-entendus

meaning

is

such

From

'

observations

as from

of

felt

is

and how well

its

understood by the child, recognize that

category of

the

atmosphere

repressive

a

memory,

indecent of

it is

'

is

children,

moreover,

Among

becoming

how

easy to ascertain

and how soon the children catch up of elders,

little prigs,

by

created

elders.

as

well

quickly

artificial attitudes

moralists,

and snobs.

peasants, conditions are quite different.

The

children are instructed in sexual matters at an early

age

they cannot help seeing sexual performances

:

of their parents

and other

relatives

;

they listen to

quarrels in which whole lists of sexual obscenities

and

technicalities are recited.

They have

domestic animals, whose propagation in is

to deal with

all its details

a matter of great concern to the whole household

and

is

freely

and minutely discussed.

Since they

are deeply steeped in things natural, they feel less

incUned to amuse themselves by doing in a clandestine

manner that which enjoy openly.

in

many ways

The children

they can do and

of the

working classes


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX stand perhaps

Hardly

midway between

the two extremes.

in contact with animals, they receive,

other hand,

53

an even greater amount

on the

bedroom

of

demonstration and public-house instruction.

What

the result of these essential differences

is

between well-to-do and proletarian children of is

all,

the

fostered

much

less

'

First

?

indecency which among bourgeois children '

by the repression of the natural pronounced in the lower

curiosities is

classes,

and comes

up only later where indecency

is

with ideas of genital sexuality.

In the higher classes,

when the itself

out,

curiosity about

already associated

indecencies

and with the leaving

has

played

of the nursery

interests in life crop up, the period of latency sets in

and these new

interests

new now

absorb the child,

while the absence of knowledge which

is

usual

among

children of the educated prevents the genital interest setting in so early.

In the lower classes this knowledge and early curiosity in genital matters are present at the

same

time and establish a continuity, a steady development

from the early period to that of

full

sexual puberty.

The nature of social influences collaborates with these facts to produce a

much

greater breach of continuity

in the life of a well-to-do child. life

up

he has

While

to the age of six v;as devoted to

now suddenly

The peasant

child

to learn

his

whole

amusement,

and to do school-work.

had already previously been helping


SEX AND REPRESSION

54

with the cooking or looking after the younger children, or running after the geese

there

no breach of continuity in

is

At

and sheep.

this time,

his Ufe.

Thus, while the early childish interest in the indecent

awakens earUer and

and proletarian

form in the peasant

in another

child,

less

is

it

clandestine, less

associated with guilt, hence less immoral, less erotic

sex.

It

anal-

more

passes

and with more continuity into early sexual

easily

play,

and more attached to

'

*

and the period

absent

or, at

any

of latency is almost completely

rate,

much

pronounced.

less

This

explains why psycho-analysis, which deals with neurotic well-to-do people, has led to the discovery of this period,

while the general medical observations of Dr. Moll did

not detect

But

if

it.

there could be

any doubt about the

of this difference between

the classes

cause, such doubt should disappear

to Melanesia.

Here certainly the

facts are different classes.

As

saw in Chapter V, the early sexual indecencies,

clandestine games it

its

when we turn

from those found among our educated

we

facts

and about

and

interests are absent.

In fact,

might be said that for these children the categories

of decent-indecent, pure-impure,

do not

same reasons which make

distinction

and

less

this

The

exist.

weaker

important among our peasants than among

our bourgeois act even more strongly and directly

among

the Melanesians.

In Melanesia there

is

no


â&#x20AC;&#x201D; THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX taboo on sex in general veils

a

is

no putting

of

any

on natural functions, certainly not in the case of

When we

child.

run

there

;

55

about

naked,

that

consider that

their

children

these

functions

excretory

are treated openly and naturally, that there

is

no

general taboo on bodily parts or on nakedness in

when we

further consider that small children

at the age of three

and four are beginning to be aware

general

;

of the existence of such a thing as genital sexuality,

and

of the fact that this will be their pleasure quite

soon just as other infantile plays will be

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

can see

^we

that social factors rather than biological explain the

between the two

difference

The stage which

I

societies.

am now describing in

Melanesia

that which corresponds to our latency period stage of infantile independence,

and

girls

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

is

the

where small boys

play together in a sort of juvenile republic.

Now, one

of

the main interests of these children

consists of sexual pastijnes.

are initiated

by each

At an early age children

other, or sometimes

by a

older companion, into the practices of sex.

slightly

Naturally

at this stage they are unable to carry out the act

properly, but they content themselves with all sorts of

games

elders,

in

which they are

and thus they can

their sensuality directly

left

quite at liberty

by their

satisfy their curiosity

and without

and

disguise.

There can be no doubt that the dominating interest of such

games

is

what Freud would

call

'genital',


'

SEX AND REPRESSION

56

by the

that they are largely determined

imitate the acts elders,

and that

and

among

one which

this period is

completely absent from the in Europe,

and which

life

amusements

is

and

almost

of better-class children

exists only to a small degree

When

peasants and proletarians.

of these

desire to

interests of elder children

speaking

of the children, the natives will

frequently allude to

them

{mwaygini kwayta).

Or

as

'

copulation

else

that

said

is

it

amusement they

are playing at marriage. It

must not be imagined that

Many do

not lend themselves at

some particular pastimes

are

and

girl

'

playing

build a

little

all

to

it.

sexual.

But there

of small children in

sex plays the predominant part. are fond of

games are

all

husband and shelter

which

Melanesian children

and

A boy

wife.'

call it their

home

;

there they pretend to assume the functions of husband

and

wife,

and amongst those

of

course the

important one of sexual intercourse.

most

At other times,

a group of children will go for a picnic where the entertainment consists of eating, fighting, and making love.

Or they

trade

exchange,

will

carry out a mimic ceremonial

ending up with sexual

activities.

Crude sensual pleasure alone does not seem to

them

;

in

such more elaborate games

it

satisfy

must be

blended with some imaginative and romantic interest.

A very important is

point about this infantile sexuality

the attitude of the elder generation towards

it.


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX As

have

I

the

least

said, the parents

Generally

reprehensible.

speak jestingly about

it

Never would they dream

as in

take

do

is

it

to

of the child world.

of interfering or frowning

disapproval, provided the children is,

will

it

to one another, discussing

and comedies

of discretion, that

they

The most they

entirely for granted.

the love tragedies

do not look upon

57

show a due amount

do not perform their amorous

games in the house, but go

away somewhere apart

in the bush.

But above

all

the children are

left entirely

Not only

selves in their love affairs.

parental interference, but rarely,

about that a

man

or a

interest in children,

woman

if

is

to them-

there no

ever, does

it

come

take a perverse sexual

and certainly they would never

be seen to mix themselves up in the games in this Violation

role.

person

of

who played

children

is

imknown, and a

sexually with a child would be

thought ridiculous and disgusting.

An

extremely important feature in

relations of children is the brother

already mentioned. first

From an

and

early age,

the

sexual

sister taboo,

when the

girl

puts on her grass petticoat, brothers and sisters

of the

same mother must be separated from each

other, in obedience to the strict taboo

which enjoins

that there shall be no intimate relations between them.

Even

earlier,

when they

first

can move about and walk,

they play in different groups.

Later on they never


SEX AND REPRESSION

58

consort together socially on a free footing, and above there

all

must never be the sUghtest suspicion

interest of one of

Although there

them

in the love affairs of the other.

children, not even quite a small

associate sex with his sisters,

any sexual

it is

This

the highest degree

bad form to speak to a brother about

love affairs, or vice versa.

make

still less

allusion or joke in their presence.

continues right through Hfe, and of

an

comparative freedom in pla5dng

is

and language between boy would

of

his sister's

The imposition

of this

taboo leads to an early breaking up of family hfe, since the boys

and

girls, in

order to avoid each other,

must leave the parental home and go elsewhere.

With

all this,

we can

which obtains in

perceive the enormous difference

the

juvenile

sexuality

stage of later childhood between ourselves

Melanesians. classes,

there

and a period the

at

this

and the

While amongst ourselves, in the educated is

at

this

time a break of sexuality

of latency with amnesia, in Melanesia

extremely early beginning of genital interest

leads to a type of sexuaUty entirely

unknown among

us.

From

will

continuously though gradually develop,

this time, the sexuality of the Melanesians

reaches puberty.

On

till

the condition that one taboo

it

is

respected in the strictest and most complete manner, society gives complete free play to juvenile sexuahty.


VIII

PUBERTY A T an

age varjdng with climate and race and

stretching from about the ninth to the fifteenth year, the child enters

puberty

is

not a

upon the age

moment

of puberty.

For

or a turning point but a more

or less prolonged period of development during which

the sexual apparatus, the whole system of internal secretions

and the organism

We

recast.

in general are entirely

cannot consider puberty as a conditio sine

qua non of sexual interest or even of sexual since non-nubile girls can copulate

are

known

penis.

to have erections

activities,

and immature boys

and to practise immissio

But undoubtedly the age

of puberty

must be

regarded as the most important landmark in the sexual history of the individual.

Sex is, moreover, so intimately bound up at this stage with the other aspects of shall treat sexual

divide

them

stages.

In

as

and

we

life

that in this chapter

social matters together

we

and not

did in the case of the two previous

comparing

Melanesia with our

own

here

the

society,

Trobrianders it

is

of

important to

note that these savages have no initiation rites at puberty.

While

this will

remove one item 59

of

extreme


SEX AND REPRESSION

6o

importance from our discussion,

on

will allow us

it

the other hand to draw the comparison between

and matriliny more

patriliny

most

in

since

and

clearly

savage

other

societies

closely,

initiation

ceremonies completely mask or modify this period.

own

In our of the

part

society,

boy and

we have

of the girl, for at this point the

company completely

a man's

life,

to speak separately

two

matters.

In

puberty means the acquisition of

full

sexual

in

mental powers as well as bodily maturity and the final

formation of the sexual characters.

new manliness

his

whole relation to

life

With

his

in general

changes as deeply as his relation to sexual matters

and to last,

we

can

observe

phenomenon which mother,

sister,

adolescent to

show

an

extremely

of our civiHzed

at the time of puberty

The

brutality towards his sisters all his

typical

communities begins

an extreme embarrass-

his mother, affects scorn

comrades of

interesting

greatly affects his attitude to his

or other female relatives.

bo}''

ment towards

his

Beginning with this

his position in the family.

and

and a

certain

ashamed before

is

female relatives.

Who

of us

does not remember the pangs of ineffable shame

when, jauntily going along with our school fellows,

we met suddenly our mother, our

aunt, our sister,

or even our girl cousin and were obliged to greet her.

There was a feeling of intense

caught in flagrante

delicto.

Some boys

guilt, of

being

tried to ignore


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX

6i

the embarrassing encounter, others more brave blushed

crimson and saluted, but everyone

shadow on

his

position,

social

felt

manliness and independence.

an outrage on his

as that associated with

here

felt

was a

it

Without entering into

we can

the psychology of this phenomenon, the shame and confusion

that

of the

is

any breach

of

see that

same type

good manners.

This newly acquired manliness affects deeply the boy's attitude towards the world, his whole Weltan-

He begins to have his independent opinions, personality and his own honour, to maintain his

schauung. his

position towards authority

This

is

and

and

son, another reckoning

At

of the father ideal.

father

is

up and a new

this point it

found out to be a fool or a

a hypocrite or an of for

intellectual leadership.

a new stage in the relation between father

life,

and

in

influencing the

come together

'

old fogey

any case

boy even again.

If

'.

He

loses the if

'

is

testing

succumbs bounder

',

if

the

to be

usually disposed

chance of effectively

in later

life

the two should

on the other hand the father

can stand the extremely severe scrutiny of this epoch there for

is

life.

a great chance of his surviving as an ideal

The

reverse

is

also true, of course, for the

father as well keenly examines his son at this epoch,

and

is

equally critical as to whether the boy comes

up

own ideal of what his future successor should be. The new attitude towards sex, the recrystallization at

to his

puberty, exerts a great influence on the boy's attitude


SEX AND REPRESSION

62

not only to his father, but to his mother as well.

The educated boy only now

fully realizes the biological

nature of the bond between his parents and himself. If

he deeply loves and worships his mother, as

usually the case, and his father,

if

then the idea of his bodily origin from his

parent's sexual intercourse, though at

a

rift

is

he can continue to ideaUze

making

first

in his mental world, can be dealt with.

on

If

the other hand he scorns and hates his father, be

it

unavowedly as so often happens, the idea brings about a permanent defilement of the mother and a besmirching of things most dear to him.

The new manhood

influences above all the boy's

Mentally he

sexual outlook.

is

ready for knowledge,

physiologically ready for applying

he receives his

it

lessons in sex at this time,

first

some form or other

and

starts sexual activities, not

often, probably, in the normal, regular

frequently

through

pollutions.

This

dividing

the roads

of

Usually

in Hfe.

masturbation

epoch

is

for

in

in

so

manner, but nocturnal

or

many

respects

the

boy.

Either

the

the

newly

awakened

strong

temperament and to easy morals, absorbs

him completely, ever in a

wave

sex

carries

it

off

him

off

his

of over-mastering

else other interests

to stave

appeaUng

impulse,

feet

to

a

once for

sensuality

;

or

and moraUty are strong enough

partially or

even

completely.

long as he preserves an ideal of chastity and

is

As able


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX to fight for

the leverage,

it,

is

there for the lifting

In this,

of the sexual impulses to a higher level.

the temptations are largely determined

course,

of

by the

The

and the mode

social setting

racial

morals and

of life of the boy.

characteristics of a commimity, its

its

code of

cultural values establish great differences

within European civilization.

some

63

countries,

is

it

In certain classes of

usual for the boy to succumb

to the disintegrating forces of easy sexuahty. others, he can take his chance.

society relieves

him

by la5dng down

In

In others, again,

of a great deal of responsibility

rules of

stem morality.

In his relations to persons of the other sex, there

appears at

something parallel to his attitude

first

towards mother and

and polarity

sister

a certain embarrassment,

;

and

of attraction

The woman

repulsion.

who, he feels, can exercise a deep influence on him alarms

him and

fills

him with

suspicion.

He

senses in her a

danger to his awakening independence and manliness.

At

new

this stage also the

fusion of tenderness with

sexuaUty which comes about towards the end of puberty mixes up tenderness

Imagination

with

the

and

about horrible

infantile

memories

new elements

especially

confusion

dream

maternal

of

of

sexuaUty.

fantasies

and play strange

bring tricks

on the boy's mind.^ ^

This conception

Chapter IX.

is

more

fully

elaborated below.

Part IV,


;

SEX AND REPRESSION

64

All this refers

more

especially to the

to the higher, well-to-do classes.

boy belonging

we compare

If

the

peasant or proletarian youth with him, we see that the essential elements are the same, though there

perhaps picture

less

individual

more

is

Thus there

is

also a period of affective crudeness

now

up

is

especially notice-

The quarrels with the

as a rule with an increased violence

that the boy realizes his

now

position as a successor,

own

forces

and

that he feels a

and a new ambition

possession

for

which

sister

young peasant.

father crop

and the general

variation

sober.

towards mother and able in a

is

own

his

new greed

for

influence.

Often a regular fight for supremacy begins at this time. In sexual matters there this

reacts

less

is

directly

not as violent a

on the parental

and

crisis

relation.

But the main outlines are the same.

The crisis

girl

at

of the educated classes goes through a

her

menstruation

first

which,

while

it

encroaches on liberty and compUcates hfe, adds to its

mysterious attraction and is usually eagerly awaited.

But puberty

is

less of a

turning point socially to a

she continues to live at

home

or to carry on her

education at a boarding school, but

and her training are life

窶馬ot

account.

in

all

her occupations

harmony with ordinary family

taking the modern,

Her aim

girl

professional

girl

One

in life is to await marriage.

important element in her relation to the family

into

is

the


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX rivalry between

65

mother and daughter which often

How

in at this time.

often

in a decided, undisguised

it

form

there can be no doubt that

makes ^

is

its

sets

appearance

hard to say, but

introduces a distorted

it

element into the typical relations of the ordinary

At

family.

this

time,

also,

and not

there

earlier,

enters a special tenderness into the relations between

father

and daughter, which not infrequently becomes

correlated with the

configuration of the Electra complex; of

an entirely

This

maternal rivalry.

different

nature

it is

is

the

therefore

from the Oedipus

Putting on one side the greater hysterical

complex.

tendency of women, for here we are concerned with the ground work of normality, the Electra complex is less

frequent and has less social importance as well

as a smaller influence on Western culture.

other hand, felt

its

influence

makes

and the father-daughter

itself

the

more frequently

incest

incomparably more frequent in real

On

seems

to

be

occurrence than

that between mother and son, for various reasons of a biological

and sociological nature.

our interest in this discussion

is

Since, however,

mainly in the cultural

the complexes,

we cannot

follow the parallel between the Oedipus

and Electra

and

social

influence

complexes in parison

detail.

between

of

Nor can we enter into a com-

the

higher

classes,

where

the

^ Such as we find it so powerfully described for instance in the very instructive novel of Maupassant, Fort comme la Mort.

r


SEX AND REPRESSION

66

repressions are stronger, where there

is

more hysteria

but fewer cases of actual incest occur, and the lower classes, where, since the girl's sex interest is frequently

engaged

earlier

and more normally, she

to hysterical distortions, but suffers

from persecution by the Let us

now

is less liable

more frequently

father.^

Puberty

turn to the Trobriand Islands.

begins there earlier than with us, but at the same time,

when

begun

their sexual activities.

individual^

it

boys and

sets in

puberty

have already

In the social

not

does

girls

constitute

life

of the

a

sharp

turning point as in those savage communities where Gradually, as he passes

initiation ceremonies exist.

to manhood, the

economic pursuits and tribal occupations,

part in

he

is

boy begins to take a more active

considered a young

of puberty he is a full

marry and carry on his

privileges.

The

man

(ulatile)

member

all his girl,

,

and by the end

of the tribe, ready to

duties as well as to enjoy

who

at

the beginning of

puberty acquires more freedom and independence

from her family, has also to do more work, amuse herself

^

more

Among

intensely,

and carry on such

duties.

peasants, the attempts of father on daughter are very

among the Latin Rumania the occurrence of this type of incest is very common among peasants, and so it seems to be in Italy. In the Canary Islands, I know myself of a few cases of frequent.

races.

I

This seems especially to be the case

have been told that

in

father and daughter committing incest, not in a clandestine manner,

but living openly

in a

shameless menage and rearing their children.


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX

67

ceremonial, economic, and legal, as are entailed by full

womanhood.

But the most important change, and the one which interests us most, is the partial break-up of the family

at the time

adolescent boys and girls cease

when the

to be permanent inmates of the parental home.

and

brothers

sisters,

whose avoidance has begun

long before in childhood, must strict taboo, so that

For

any

now keep an extremely

possibility of contact while

engaged in sexual pursuits must be eliminated. danger

obviated

is

bukumatula.

inhabited

A

This

by a

name

by groups

of

is

special

given to special houses

will join

girls.

such a house,

owned by some mature youth

is

the

institution,

adolescent boys and

boy as he reaches puberty

which

This

or

young

widower and tenanted by a number of youths, from

who are there joined by their sweethearts.^ parental home is drained completely of its

three to six,

Thus the

adolescent males, though until the boy's marriage

he

always come back for food, and will also

will

continue to work for his household to some extent.

A

girl,

on the rare nights

of chastity

when she

engaged in one bukumatula or another,

may

is

not

return

to sleep at home.

What

is

the

attitude

towards

mother,

father,

For a detailed description and analysis of this remarkable a mimicry of group -marriage as we have on record, compare the author's forthcoming Sexual Life of Savages. ^

institution, as close


SEX AND REPRESSION

68 sister or

brother into which the sentiments of the

Melanesian boy and

epoch

we

girl

crystalUze at this important

As with a modern European boy and

?

see that at this period there

is

only a

girl,

final cast,

a consolidation of what has been in gradual formation

during

whom

from

life.

The mother,

the child has been weaned

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;in the widest

previous

the

word

sense of the

of

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;remains

and

of all kinship

stages

still

relationship for the rest of

are determined with regard to her

no one

do

it,

home.

else is there to

while

and attachment, prescribed by

social

remain also deeply founded in real

senti-

man

dies or suffers mishap,

be the one to sorrow and her waihng

will

will last longest little of

relatives.

provide for her, he will have to

ment, and when an adult

mother

and her

her house will always be his second

Affection

obligations,

his

life.

boy's status in society, his duties and privileges,

The

If

the pivotal point

and be most

sincere.

Yet there

is

the personal friendship, the mutual confidences

and intimacy which

is

so characteristic of the mother-

to-son relationship in our society.

The detachment

from the mother, carried out as we have seen at every stage

with

more

easily

fewer

suppressions,

and more thoroughly than with

premature is

wrenches

and

us,

violent

achieved in a more complete and

harmonious manner.

The father The boy, who

at this time suffers a temporary eclipse. as a child

was

fairly

independent and


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX became the member gains

now on

of the small, juvenile republic,

the one

hand the

additional freedom of

the hukumatula, while on the other he becomes

more

restricted

by

his

kada (maternal uncle).

He

has

less

time and

less

Later on, when friction

with the maternal uncle makes

its

appearance, he

to his father once more, and their

friendship then becomes settled.

life

much

various duties towards his

interest left for the father.

turns, as a rule,

69

At

this stage,

however, when the adolescent has to learn his duties, to be instructed in traditions his arts

and

who

his teacher

is

and to study

crafts, his interest in his

and

his magic,

mother's brother,

tutor, is greatest

and

their

relations are at their best.^

There

is

one more important difference between

the Melanesian boy's feeling for his parents and that

when

own

educated boy in our

of the

at puberty

fiery vision

and with

society.

With

social initiation the

opens before the youth,

a strange shadow on his previous

its

us,

new

glare throws

warm

feelings for

mother and father. His own sexuality estranges him from his progenitors, embarrasses their relations and creates deep complications. Not so in the ^

The

relation

between these three, the young man, his father and

his mother's brother, are in reality

somewhat more complicated

have been able to show here, and present an interesting picture of the play and clash of the incompatible principles of kinship and authority. This subject will be discussed in a forthcoming book on kinship. Compare also Crime and Custom, 1926.

than

I


70

SEX AND REPRESSION

matrilineal

society.

The

absence

indecency period and of the parental authority

;

above

;

all

the

early

struggles against

first

the gradual and open taking-up

of sex ever since it first

blood

of

began to

stir in

the young

the attitude of benevolent onlookers

which the parents take towards the sexuality of their

young

the fact of the mother's withdrawing

;

completely but gradually from the boy's passionate feeUngs brings

;

the father smiling his approval

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

this

all

about the fact that the intensification of

sexuality at puberty exercises no direct influence

upon the relation to the parents.

One is,

relation,

that

brother and

between

sexuahty

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;especially

extends to

all free

of sex completely

This taboo, which

at puberty.

association

and excludes the motive

from the relations of the two,

place

it

must be kept

in

mind that

great sexual barrier in a man's illicit

to trespass,

this

life,

and that

it

taboo

is

first

the

beyond which

it

constitutes

also

The

pro-

the most important general moral rule. hibition,

affects

For in the

the sexual outlook of both in general.

is

sister,

however, deeply affected by every increase of

moreover, which starts in childhood with

the separation of brothers and sisters and of which this separation

always remains the main point, extends

also to all other females of the

sexual world

is

for the

same

boy divided

one of these, embracing the

clan.

into

women

Thus the

two moieties

of his

own

:

clan,


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX is

him

prohibited to

the other, to which

;

of the remaining three clans belong,

is

71

women

lawful.

Let us compare now the brother-sister relation

With

Melanesia and Europe.

childhood gradually cools

somewhat constrained is

off

in

the intimacy of

us,

and changes into a which the

relation, in

sister

naturally but not completely divided from her

brother

by

social, psychological

and

biological factors.

In Melanesia, as soon as any intimacy in play or in childish confidences sets

The

in.

always

near

might spring up, the

sister

yet

remains

never

a

strict

mysterious

taboo being,

divided by the

intimate,

invisible yet all powerful wall of traditional

command

which gradually changes into a moral and personal imperative.

sexual

The

horizon

sister

remains the only spot on the

permanently hidden.

Any

natural

impulses of infantile tenderness are as systematically repressed from the outset as other natural impulses are in our children, '

indecent

'

as

and the

sister

becomes thus

an object of thought, interest and

feeling, just as the

forbidden things do for our children.

Later on, as the personal experiences in sexuaHty develop, the veil of reserve separating the two thickens.

Though they have constantly to avoid each yet,

owing to the fact that he

is

other,

the provider of her

household, they must constantly keep one another in

thought

and

attention.

Such

premature repression must have

its

artificial

and

results.

The


SEX AND REPRESSION

72

psychologists foretell

In

the

of

Freudian school could

easily

them.-

have spoken almost exclusively from

all this I

the point of view of the boy.

What

is

the configura-

tion of the Melanesian girl's attitude to her family

as

it

crystallizes

at

puberty

her attitude does not differ so her European counterpart as boy.

Roughly speaking,

?

much from

that of

the case with the

is

Just because of the brother and sister taboo,

the Trobriand matriarchy touches the the boy. to take

For, since her brother

any

girl less

is strictly

than

forbidden

interest in her sexual affairs, including

her marriage, and her mother's brother has also to

keep aloof from these matters, her father

who

is

it is,

strangely enough,

her guardian as regards matrimonial

So that between father and daughter

arrangements.

not quite an identical, but a very similar relation exists as with us.

For among ourselves the

the female child and her father

and thus the found

relation

in the Trobriands

friction

between

normally small,

is

approaches nearer to that

between father and

child.

There, on the other hand, the intimacy between a

grown-up man and an adolescent remembered,

is

not considered

fraught with some temptation.

who, be

girl,

his

This

kinswoman, is

it

is

not lessened

but increased by the fact that though the daughter is

not actually tabooed by the laws of exogamy,

yet sexual intercourse between the two

is

considered


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX in the highest degree reprehensible,

though

73 never

it is

name of suvasova, which means breach exogamy. The reason for this prohibition between

given the of

father and daughter

of course, simply that

is,

it

is

wrong to have sexual intercourse with the daughter of the

woman

whom you

with

not be astonished when later, as

We

co-habit.

we

shall

trace the influence

of the typical attitudes between members of the

family,

we

happens

in reahty,

though

an obsession, nor has

With

not

is

incest

hardly could be called

any echo

in folk-lore.

more natural than that

essentially

difference there girl

it

it

father-daughter

regard to her mother, the general course of

the relation

though

that

find

shall

is

at puberty

:

jealousies,

point

of

from the parental home and her

of

interests

normally

mother-daughter

prevent

rivalries

and

though they do not always preclude the

occurrence of father-daughter incest.

exception

One

namely, that the exodus of the

numerous outside sex the development

different.

Europe,

in

of

Thus, with the

her attitude to the brother, broadly

speaking, sentiments similar to those in Europe are to be found in a Melanesian

girl.


IX

THE COMPLEX OF MOTHER-RIGHT T T 7E

have been comparing the two

civilizations, the

European and the Melanesian, and we have seen that there exist deep differences, some of the forces

by which

society moulds man's biological nature

Though

being essentially dissimilar. is

in each there

a certain latitude given to sexual freedom, and a

certain

amount

of interference with

and regulation

of

the sex instinct, yet in each the incidence of the

taboo and the play of sexual liberty within prescribed bounds

are

entirely

different.

its

There

is

also a quite dissimilar distribution of authority within

the family, and correlated with of

counting

societies

the

kinship.

growth

We

a different

mode

have followed in both the

of

it

average boy or

under these divergent tribal laws and customs.

girl

We

have found that at almost every step there are great differences

due to the interplay between biological

impulse and social rule which sometimes harmonize,

sometimes

sometimes

conflict,

to

an

sometimes lead to a short inequilibrium

fraught,

with possibilities for a future development. final

stage of the

reached maturity,

child's

we have

life-history,

seen

74

bliss,

however,

after

At the it

has

its feelings crystallize


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX into a system

of

sentiments towards the mother,

and

father, brother, sister,

the Trobriands, the

in

maternal uncle, a system which

and which,

society,

75

adapt ourselves to

in order to

psycho-analytic terminology,

typical of each

is

we

called the

'Family

Complex' or the 'nuclear complex'.

Now

me

allow

of these

to restate briefly the

two complexes '

main features

The Oedipus complex, the

'.

system of attitudes typical of our patriarchal society, is

formed in early infancy, partly during the transition

between the

first

and second stages

So that, towards

partly in the course of the latter.

when the boy

end,

its

is

about

of childhood,

five or six

years old,

his attitudes are well formed, though perhaps not finally settled.

And

these attitudes comprise already

a number of elements of hate and suppressed In

this, I think,

our results do not

differ to

desire.

any extent

from those of psycho-analysis.^ In the matrilineal society at that stage, though the

has

child

towards

its

developed

father

very definite sentiments

and mother, nothing suppressed,

nothing negative, no frustrated desire forms a part of

them. social

Whence

arises this difference

?

As we saw, the

arrangements of the Trobriand matriliny are

in

almost complete harmony with the biological course of ^ I have come to realize since the above was written that no orthodox or semi-orthodox psycho-analyst would accept my statement of the complex ', or of any aspect of the doctrine. '


SEX AND REPRESSION

76

development, while the institution of father -right found in

our society crosses and represses a number of natural

To

impulses and inclinations. there

trace

more

it

in detail,

the passionate attachment to the mother,

is

the bodily desire to cling close to her, which in patriarchal institutions

is

broken or interfered with

which

morality,

way

one

in

or another

the influence of our

;

condemns sexuality

children;

in

the brutality of the father, especially in the lower strata, the

and

atmosphere of his exclusive right to mother

child acting subtly but strongly in the higher

by the wife

strata, the fear felt

husband

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

children.

all

of displeasing her

these influences force apart parents

Even where the

and

between father

rivalry

and

child for the mother's personal attention is reduced

to a

minimum,

or to naught, there comes, in the second

between

period, a distinct clash of social interests

father

and

child.

The

child

is

an

encumbrance

and an obstacle to the parental freedom, a reminder of age of

and decUne and,

if it is

a future social rivalry.

a son, often the menace Thus, over and above

the clash of sensuality, there social

friction

advisedly

between

'child'

and

father

not

is

ample

and

'boy',

room

child. for,

I

for

say

according

to our results, the sex difference between the children

does not play any great part at this stage, nor has a closer relation

made

its

between father and daughter as yet

appearance.


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX All

and

these forces

are absent

influences

the matrilineal society of the Trobriands. all

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;and

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;there

no condemnation

is

sensuality as such, above

all,

First of

mother

of the child to his till it

plays

is

allowed to take

The

child during these

two early periods

helper.

clinging

its

diverted

is

bodily interests.

and

sex or of

The sensuous

out and

itself

of

no moral horror at the

idea of infantile sexuality.

friend

from

that has, hien entendu, nothing to do with

matriliny

course

^^

natural

by other

attitude of the father to the

that of a near

is

At the time when our father makes

himself pleasant at best

by

his entire absence

the nursery, the Trobriand father

is

first

from

a nurse

and then a companion.

The development also differs in

Europe and Melanesia

of the nursery classes,

of pre-sexual life at this stage

among

develop

a

;

the repressions

us, especially in

tendency

towards

the higher clandestine

inquisitions into indecent things, especially excretory

functions and organs.

no

such

period.

Among

Now

this

the savages infantile

we

find

pre-genital

indecency establishes distinctions between the decentindecent, the pure-impure,

and the indecent, parent-

proof compartment reinforces

depth to the taboo which relations to the

is

and gives additional

suddenly cast over certain

mother, that

is

to the premature

banishment from her bed and bodily embraces.

So that here also the complications of our society


SEX AND REPRESSION

78

are not shared

by the

children in the Trobriands.

At the next stage of sexuality In

difference.

more or

less

we find a no less relevant

Europe there

a

is

latency

period

pronounced, which implies a breach of

continuity in the sexual development and, according to Freud, serves to reinforce

many

of our repressions

and the general amnesia, and to create many dangers

On the other hand,

in the normal development of sex. also represents the

it

triumph

of other cultural

social interests over sexuahty.

at this stage, sex in

almost

Among

the savages

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;a

form

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;establishes

itself

an early genital form

unknown among

ourselves

and

foremost among

the child's interests, never to be

dislodged again.

This, while in

destructive,

culturally

helps

many

respects

gradual

the

it

is

and

harmonious weaning of the child from the family influences.

With

this

we have

half of the child's

entered already into the second

development, for the period of

sexual latency in our society belongs to this part.

When we

consider these two later stages which form

we

the second half of the development,

profound difference.

With us during

find another

this early period

of puberty, the Oedipus complex, the attitudes of the

boy towards In

his parents, only soUdify

Melanesia,

on

the

other

hand,

and it

crystallize. is

mainly

during this second epoch, in fact almost exclusively then, that

any complex

is

formed.

For only at this


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX

79

period is the child submitted to the system of repressions

and taboos which begin to mould these forces he responds, partly

by developing more or and

human

desires, for

but also

The

less

To

his nature.

by adaptation,

partly

repressed antagonisms

nature

not only malleable

is

elastic.

repressing and moulding forces in Melanesia

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;the

submission

are

twofold

law,

and the prohibitions

matriarchal tribal

to

The

exogamy.

of

first

is

brought about by the influence of the mother's brother,

who, in appeahng to the pride in

child's

sense of honour,

and ambition, comes to stand to him

in a relation

many respects analogous to that of the father among On the other hand, both the efforts which he

us.

demands and the

livalry

between

and

successor

succeeded introduce the negative elements of jealousy

and resentment. Thus an 'ambivalent' attitude

is

formed in which veneration assumes the acknowledged

dominant itself

place, while a repressed hatred manifests

only indirectly.

The second taboo, the prohibition of incest, surrounds the

sister,

and to a

on the maternal

lesser degree other

side, as well as

Of

of sexual mystery. is

We

whom

noted

entering the boy's

clanswomen, with a

all this class

the representative to

stringently.

life

that in

female relatives

of

women, the

veil

sister

the taboo applies most this

infancy,

severing

taboo,

cuts short the

incipient tenderness towards his sister

which

is

the


SEX AND REPRESSION

8o

This taboo also, since

natural impulse of a child.

makes

an

even

causes

crime,

a

matters

contact

accidental

sexual

in

thought

the

sister to be always present, as well as

it

the

of

consistently

repressed.

Comparing the two systems briefly,

we see

family attitudes

of

that in a patriarchal society, the infantile

rivalries and the later social functions introduce into

the attitude of father and son, besides mutual attach-

ment, also a certain amount of resentment and

Petween mother and premature unsatisfied

craving

interests

come

new bodily

infancy

in

which,

in

up

between father and son, and

itself

deep,

when sexual

and assumes often an

longings,

of the child for its

a

memory with

in

mother

all is

is

no

erotic

friction

the infantile craving

allowed gradually to

The

in a natural, spontaneous manner.

ambivalent attitude of veneration and dislike

between a

man and

the

dreams and other

In the Trobriands there

fantasies.

spend

leaves on,

later

mixed up

in, is

which comes

character

on the other hand, the

son,

separation

dislike.

is felt

his mother's brother, while the

repressed sexual attitude of incestuous

can be formed only towards his

sister.

temptation

Applying to

each society a terse, though somewhat crude formula,

we might say that

in the

the repressed desire to

mother,

while

in

the

kill

Oedipus complex there

is

the father and marry the

matrilineal

society

of

the


THE FORMATION OF A COMPLEX Trobriands the wish kill

is

marry the

to

8i

and to

sister

the maternal uncle.

With

this,

we have summarized the

detailed inquiry,

problem

results of our

and given an answer to the

set out at the beginning, that

is,

first

we have

studied the variation of the nuclear complex with

the constitution of the family, and

we have shown

what manner the complex depends upon some

in

the features of family

life

of

and sexual morals.

We are indebted to psycho-analysis for the discovery that there exists a typical configuration of sentiments in our society,

and

concerned with sex, as to

an

why

In the foregoing pages

exist.

outline of the nuclear

matriUneal one, where

it

such a complex must

we were

complex

differ

and what

able to give

of another society, a

has never been studied before.

We found that this complex differs patriarchal one,

mainly

for a partial explanation,

essentially

and we have shown why

social forces bring it about.

drawn our comparison on the broadest

from the it

must

We

have

basis,

and,

without neglecting sexual factors, we have also systematically is

drawn

important,

in

the other elements.

for, so far, it

The

result

has never been suspected

that another type of nuclear complex might be in existence.

By my

analysis,

I

have established that

Freud's theories not only roughly correspond to

human

psychology, but that they follow closely the modification

in

human

nature brought

about by various


82

SEX AND REPRESSION

constitutions

of

society.

In other words,

have

I

established a deep correlation between the type of society

and the nuclear complex found

this is in a sense a confirmation of the

Freudian psychology,

it

elastic.

main tenet

of

might compel us to modify

certain of its features, or rather to

formulae more

While

there.

To put

it

make some

concretely,

it

of its

appears

necessary to draw in more systematically the correlation between biological

and

social

to assume the universal existence

influences of

the

;

not

Oedipus

complex, but in studying every type of civilization, to establish the special complex which pertains to

it.


PART

II

THE MIRROR OF TRADITION I

COMPLEX AND MYTH TT now

rerpains to proceed to the study of the second

problem posed in the is

to

MOTHER-RIGHT

IN

first

part of this volume

investigate whether the

so entirely different in its genesis

and

show that

in the social

and

character

its

also a different

social organization

life,

that

matriHneal complex,

from the Oedipus complex, exercises influence on tradition

;

;

and to

as well as in the folk-lore, of

these natives their specific repressions manifest themselves unmistakably.

Whenever the

passions,

kept

normally within traditional bounds by rigid taboos,

customs and

legal penalties,

break through in crime,

perversion, aberration, or in one of those dramatic

hum-

occurrences which shake from time to time the

drum

life

of a savage

community

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;then these passions

reveal the matriarchal hatred of the maternal uncle

or the incestuous wishes towards the folk-lore

of

matrilineal fairy tales

these

complex.

Melanesians

The

mirrors

examination

and legend, as well as 83

also

The

sister.

of

of magic, will

the

myth,

show


SEX AND REPRESSION

84 that

the

repressed

hatred of the maternal uncle,

ordinarily

masked by conventional reverence and

solidarity,

breaks through in those narratives con-

structed on the model of the day -dream and dictated

by repressed

longings.

Especially interesting

is

the magic of love of these

natives and the mythology connected with

sexual attraction,

all

power

of seduction

to reside in the magic of love.

is

it.

All

believed

This magic again the

natives regard as founded in a dramatic occurrence of the past,

narrated in a strange tragic

brother and sister incest.

by the

myth

of

Thus the position established

description of social relations within the family,

and by an analysis of kinship, can also be independently demonstrated by the study of the culture of these Melanesian natives.


II

DISEASE AND PERVERSION

nnHE

evidence adduced in this part of the essay

While on some points

not quite homogeneous. I

have had

my

information,

full

have to confess

shall

I

ignorance or only incomplete knowledge in others,

and there solve

found

This

it.

it

shaU indicate the problem rather than

I

knowledge

of

due partly to

is

lack of expert

my

having

impossible to psycho-analyze the natives

unevenness in the

by

partly to an unavoidable

material,

that

especially

among

other tribes where

I

shorter time

and worked under

less

collected

much

my

mental disease, partly to

the orthodox technique;

I

is

which

resided for a

favourable

conditions than in the Trobriands, I shall start

Here comes disease.

We

with the weakest items in

first

my

the question of neurosis and mental

have seen in the comparative account of

the child's development

among

ourselves

Trobriands that the matrilineal complex later in the life of a child, that

the intimacy of the family shocks,

if

repertoire.

any, that

it

is

circle,

it

is

that

and is

in the

formed

formed outside it

entails fewer

due mainly to the play of

rivalry, while its erotic thwartings

85

do not go to the


SEX AND REPRESSION

86 roots

Since

of infantile sexuality.

Freudian

theory

much

expect a

It is

so,

is

us

lead

the to

smaller prevalence of those neuroses

(ilbertragungsneurosen) due to

hood.

would

neurosis

of

this

the traumas of child-

a great pity that a competent alienist

has not been able to examine the Trobrianders under the same conditions as myself, for

think he could

I

throw some interesting sidelights upon the assumptions of psycho-analysis.

When for

studying the Trobrianders,

it

would be

futile

an ethnographer to compare them with Europeans,

for with us there are

innumerable other factors which

complicate the picture and contribute to the formation

But some thirty miles south

mental disease.

of

of the

Trobriands there are the Amphlett Islands, inhabited

by people

essentially

language, but

who

similar

in

race,

however, very

differ,

custom, and

much

organization, have strict sexual morals, that

pre-nuptial

have

no

is,

regard

sexual intercourse with disapproval and institutions

while their family

Though

in social

matrilineal,

to

support

sexual

license,

much more closely knit. they have a much more developed life

patriarchal authority,

is

and

this,

combined with the

sexual repressiveness, establishes a picture of child-

hood more similar to our own.^ 1

For a description of some customs and features of the culture Amphlett Island, see the author's Argonauts

of the natives of the

of the Western Pacific, chap. xi.


â&#x20AC;&#x201D; THE MIRROR OF TRADITION Now

my own

even with

subject,

87

limited knowledge of the

received quite a different impression of the

I

neurotic

dispositions

Trobriands, though

knew

I

these

of

the

In

natives.

scores of natives intimately

and had a nodding acquaintance with many more,

name a

could not

single

man

or

Nervous

hysterical or even neurasthenic.

I

woman who was tics,

com-

pulsory actions or obsessive ideas were not to be In the system of native pathology, based, of

found. course,

on

belief in black

magic, but reasonably true to

the symptoms of disease, there are two categories of

mental

nagowa,

disorder

cretinism, idiocy,

and

a defect of speech

;

is

which

corresponds

who from time

to time break out into acts of violence

The natives

and recognize that

who have

also given to people

and gwayluwa, which corresponds

roughly to mania, and comprises those

behaviour.

to

and deranged

of the Trobriands

know

well

in the neighbouring islands of the

Amphletts and d'Entrecasteaux there are other types of black

magic which can produce

different

effects

on the mind

from those known to themselves, of which

the symptoms are according to their accounts compulsory actions, nervous tics and various forms of obsession.

Amphletts,

And

my

that this was a

during first

my

few months' stay in the

and strongest impression was

community

of neurasthenics.

Coming

from the open, gay, hearty and accessible Trobrianders, it

was astonishing to

find oneself

among a community


SEX AND REPRESSION

88

of people distrustful of the

newcomer, impatient

in

work, arrogant in their claims, though easily cowed

and extremely nervous when tackled more energetically.

The women ran away

and kept

in hiding the

as I landed in their villages

whole of

exception of a few old hags. picture,, I at

my

stay, with the

Apart from

this general

once found a number of people affected

with nervousness

whom

could not use as informants,

I

because they would either

lie

in

some

sort of fear,

or else become excited and offended over any

It is characteristic that in the

detailed questioning.

Trobriands even the rather than

spiritualistic

mediums

abnormal people.

Trobriands black magic

manner by men, that

more

is

And

while in

practised in a

is

are poseurs

the '

'

scientific

by methods which present small

claim to the supernatural, in the islands of the south there are

which

'

flying

in other

witches, and

wizards

'

who

practise the

parts belongs only to

who make

magic

semi-fabulous

at first sight a quite

abnormal

mpression.

In another community

among whom

ethnographic apprenticeship, and did not study with the same as intimately as

I

I

whom

methods or

served I

my

therefore

come

to

know

did the Trobrianders, the conditions

are even more repressive than in the Amphlett Islands.

The

Mailu, inhabiting a portion of the south coast of

New Guinea, are patriUneal, have a pronounced paternal authority in the family, and a fairly strict code of


THE MIRROR OF TRADITION repressive sexual morals. ^

Among

these natives,

whom

noted a number of people

and therefore

neurasthenics,

89

I

had

I

had

classed as

useless as ethnographic

informants.

But aU these tentative remarks, though they

are not

sheer guesses, are intended only to raise the problem,

and

to indicate

what the solution would most probably

The problem would

be.

number of the

of matrilineal

same

:

to study a

and patriarchal communities

level of culture, to register the variation

of sexual repression

and

therefore be

and

of the family constitution,

to note the correlation

between the amount of

sexual and family repression and the prevalence of hysteria and compulsion neurosis.

Melanesia, where side living

by

side

we

The conditions find

in

communities

under entirely different conditions, are

like a

naturally arranged experiment for this purpose.

Another point which might be interpreted in favour of the Freudian solution of this problem

is

the correlation

of sexual perversions with sexual repression.

Freud has

shown that there is a deep connection between the course of infantile sexuality in later

^

life.

Compare the

On

writer's

monograph on " The Natives

information on mental disease I

did not include

of republishing it in

a

of

Mailu "

Royal Society of Australia, vol. 39, 1915, is

contained there.

to return to the district and the essay was published

account in which

of perversion

the basis of his theory, an entirely

in the Proceedings of the

No

and the occurrence

all I

fuller form.

knew

'I

had hoped

a preliminary and had noted, thinking cis


SEX AND REPRESSION

90

community

lax

like that of the Trobrianders,

who do

not interfere with the free development of infantile

This

show a minimum

should

sexuality,

fully confirmed

is

known

sexuality was

to

perversions.

of

Homo-

the Trobriands.

in

and

other tribes

in

exist

regarded as a filthy and ridiculous practice. It cropped

up

in the

Trobriands only with the influence of white

man, more boys and

and

especially of white

on a Mission Station, penned

girls

strictly isolated houses,

The

man's morality.

cooped up

in separate

together,

had

to help themselves out as best they could, since that

which every Trobriander looks upon as

was denied

right

made

natives,

homosexuality

whom

upon

of non-missionary as well as missionary

the

is

rule

among

were a few cases

caught in flagrante

from the face of

them

those

white man's morality has been forced in

such an irrational and unscientific manner. rate, there

due and

According to very careful

to them.

inquiries

his

of

delicto,

which

'

At any

evil doers

'

were ignominiously banished

God back

tried to continue

in

into the villages,

it,

where one

but had to give up under

the pressure of the native morals, expressed in scorn

and

derision.

perversions are

I

have

also reason

much more

prevalent in the Amphlett

and d'Entrecasteaux archipelago again

I

have

to regret that

to suppose that

I

important subject in detail.

in

the south,

was not able to study

but this


Ill

DREAMS AND DEEDS

XTOW

we have

of

expresses

how

to study

family in the Trobriands

matrihneal

the

itself in

of the natives.

If

the integral sentiment

the culture and social organization

we pushed

problem too deep

this

would indeed lead us to a minute examination from

it

this

point of view of practically every manifestation of their tribal

life.

We

shall

have to make a selection and pick

out the most relevant domains of divided into two categories (2)

the data of folk-lore.

:

To

These can be

the free fantasies, and

(i)

the

fact.

first class

belong those

products of individual imagination such as dreams,

day-dreams, personal desires and ideals which, coming

from the individual's own

life,

are shaped

endo-psychic forces of his personality.

by the

In this class

can be reckoned not only the manifestations of fantasies in

thought and dream, but also in deed.

Or a sin

or

and decency of

For a crime

an act which outrages pubhc opinion is

committed when the repressive

forces

law and moraUty are broken by the repressed

passions.

In such deeds

we can measure both

the

strength of the ideal and the depth of the passion.

We

shall turn

now

to this 91

first

class of

dreams and


SEX AND REPRESSION

92

deeds in which the individual shakes the shackles

of

off

temporarily

custom and reveals the repressed

elements and the conflict with the repressing forces.

Dreams and day-dreams study among It is a

are not an easy subject for,

the Melanesians of the Trobriand Islands.

remarkable and characteristic feature of these

natives,

in

which they seem to

savages, that they apparently

differ

dream

from other

have

little,

little

interest in their dreams, seldom relate them spon-

dream

taneously, do not regard the ordinary

as having

any prophetic or other importance, and have no code

When

of symbolic explanation whatever.

the subject directly, as

I

often did,

informants whether they had dreamt, and, their

tackled

I

and asked so,

if

my

what

dreams had been, the answer was usually negative,

with rare exceptions, to which we

will return.

Is this

absence of dreams, or rather of interest in dreams, to the fact that society, a society

restricted?

appears

we are dealing with a non-repressed among whom sex as such is in no way

Is it so because their

late,

rarity of free

due

and has few

'

complex

'

dreams and the absence

weak,

is

infantile elements

This

?

of strong effect,

hence absence of remembrance, point to

the same

conclusion as the absence of neurosis, that

is,

to the

correctness in broad outline of the Freudian theory.

For is

this theory affirms that the

unsatisfied

sexual

or

sexual

appetite,

quasi-sexual

main cause and

impulses

as

of

dreams

especially

are

such

repressed


THE MIRROR OF TRADITION To

violently in infancy.

93

one could only

this question

obtain a satisfactory answer by collecting rich comparative material

and mode of living but with different

culture I

have used so

there

among two communities far the expression

a class of dreams which

is

whether with the

free or

'

free

of similar

repressions.

dreams

it is difficult

',

for

to range,

with the fixed fantasies, since

they run on lines prescribed by tradition and could be called in

'

official

which a

some task

dreams

man is

Such, for instance, are dreams

'.

leading an enterprise or carrying out

supposed to dream under certain circum-

The

stances about the object of his enterprise.

leaders

dream about the weather, about

of fishing excursions

may

the place where the shoals

appear, about the

and they give

best date for the expedition,

and instructions accordingly.

Those

their orders

in charge of the

overseas expeditions called Kula are often supposed to have dreams about the success of their ceremonial trading.

Above

all

the magicians have dreams associ-

ated with the performance of their magic. also

another form

associated with

typical

of

magic,

that,

about as the direct result of a

There

or traditional

is

dream

namely, which comes

spell or of

the ceremonial overseas trading there

a

is

rite.

Thus, in

a certain spell

which acts directly on the mind of the partner, induces in

him a dream, and

desire

the exchange.

to produce a

this

dream makes the partner

Most love magic

is

supposed

dream which awakens the amorous

wish.


94

SEX AND REPRESSION

Thus these

natives, remarkably enough, reverse the

Freudian theory

of,

dreams, for to them the dream

is

the cause of the wish,^ In reahty, this class of traditional

dreams

is

very

much

within the lines of the Freudian

For they are constructed as a projection on

theory.

own desire. The victim of love magic feels in her dream an itching, a craving which is the same as the state of mind of the performer to the victim of the magician's

The Kula partner under the

of the magic.

magic

influence of

supposed to dream of glorious scenes of

is

exchange which form the very vision dominating the wishes of the performer.

Nor

are such dreams merely spoken of

supposed to

exist.

Very frequently the magician him-

would come and

self

a good

of a

tell

yield in fishing,

on the strength of

and only

it.

me

that he

had dreamt about

and would organize an expedition

Or a garden wizard would speak

dream he had had about a long drought, and

fore order certain

things to be done.

there-

During the

annual ceremonial feast in honour of dead ancestors

had on two occasions opportunities of natives.

I

dreams

of noting

In both cases the dream referred to the

proceedings, and in one the dreamer claimed to have

dreamt that he had had a conversation with the

who were not ^

Cf. also

my

satisfied

Argonauts of

and detailed descriptions the narrative.

with things.

the

Another

Western Pacific,

of the rites

and

spirits,

class of

chapter on magic

spells in the course of


THE MIRROR OF TRADITION dream

typical

is

95

concerned with the birth of babies.

In these the future mother has a sort of

dream annuncia-

tion from one of her dead relatives.^

Now one of the typical or official dreams is the sexual dream, which interests us here more especially. A man will

dream that a woman

dream he awake This

will

have congress with

conceal

will

up the dream

try to follow initiate

from

her,

and he

will

actively in real

For

will

and

life

dream

this

him had performed

visited

in

;

but he

his wife,

an intrigue with the woman.

means that she who

at night

semen on the mat.

finding the discharge of

he

him

visits

love

magic and that she desires him.

About such dreams confidences, followed efforts of the

dream

man

had a number

I

by

of personal

the story of the subsequent

at establishing

an intrigue with his

visitor.

Now,

naturally, as soon as

about their erotic dreams,

scent of incestuous dreams.

you ever dream

I

was

was

I

To

your mother

of

told

by the natives

the question in this

way

answer would be a calm, unshocked negation.

mother

is

forbidden

dream such a

thing.

would be put about the ^

Cf,

'

Baloma

'

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

"

:

?

Do

" the "

The

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;only a tonagowa (imbecile) would She

thing would happen."

1916.

on the

at once keenly

is

an old woman.

No

such

But whenever the question sister,

article in the

the answer would be quite

Journal of

the R.

Anthrop.

Inst.,


â&#x20AC;&#x201D; SEX AND REPRESSION

96

Of course

with a strong affective reaction.

different,

knew enough never

I

to ask such a question directly of

a man, and never to discuss

it

company.

in

asking in the form of whether

'

But even

other people

'

could

ever have such dreams, the reaction would be that of indignation and anger.

answer at

all

an embarrassed pause another

after

;

Sometimes there would be no

subject would be taken again, would deny angrily.

my

it

up by the informant.

seriously, others

Some,

vehemently and

But, working out the question bit by bit with

best informants, the truth at last appeared,

found that the actually well

dreams

real state of opinion is different.

known

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; " a man Why

tempered.

?

is

that

'

other people

ashamed," such a

'

It is

ill-

Because he has dreamt that he had " This

man would

say.

I

made me

frequently,

feel

found that this

one of the typical dreams known to

occurring

I

have such

sometimes sad, ashamed, and

connection with his sister."

in fact,

and

is,

exist,

and one which haunts and

confirmed by other data, especially in

we will find myth and legend.

Again, the brother-sister incest

the most repre-

disturbs the dreamer.

That

this is so,

is

hensible form of breach of the rules of

exogamy

which institution makes it illicit to have connection with

any woman sister

incest

of the is

same

clan.

regarded with the utmost horror, a

breach of clan exogamy desirable,

But though the brother-

is

a thing both smart and

owing to the piquant

difficulties in

carrying


;

THE MIRROR OF TRADITION it

out.

In accordance with

this,,

dreams about clan

Thus, comparing the different

incest are very frequent.

types of incestuous dreams, there

every reason to

is

assume that the mother hardly ever appears and,

if

97

in

them

she does, these dreams leave no deep impression

;

that the more distant female relatives are dreamt of

and that the impression

frequently,

left is

pleasant

while incestuous dreams about the sister occur and leave a deep and painful

memory. This

have been expected,

as

for,

we saw when

development of their sexuality, there in

is

is

what might

following the

no temptation

the case of the mother, a violent and strongly

repressed one towards the

sister,

and a

spicy, not very

repressed prohibition about the clans woman.

Brother and

sister

is

regarded with such

first

an observer, even well

inces.t

horror by the natives that at

acquainted with their Ufe, would confidently affirm

would never occur, though a Freudian might

that

it

have

his suspicions.

be found fully sister existed

And

justified.

these,

on closer search, would

Incest between brother

and

even in olden days, and there are certain

family scandals told especially about the ruhng clan of

Nowadays, when the ancient morals and

the Malasi.

institutions break

down under

the influence of spurious

Christian morality and the white man's so-called law

and order tribal

is

introduced, the passions repressed

tradition break through even

and openly.

I

by

more violently

have three or four cases on record in


SEX AND REPRESSION

98

which public opinion

definitely,

though

in whispered

undertones, accused a brother of incestuous relations

with his

was a

One

sister.

lasting intrigue

case,

however, stands out, for

famous

it

for its effrontery, for the

notorious character of the hero and heroine, and for

the scandalous stories spun around

Mokadayu, Like

all of his

success

his

of

Okopukopu, was a famous

profession, he

with

was no

is

and the two

attract each other."

with

all

singer.

renowned

for

say the natives,

a long passage like the wila (vagina),

a beautiful voice will like

him."

less

" For,"

ladies.

" the throat

will like

it.

Many

women

"

A man who

has

much and they how he slept Olivilevi, how he

very

stories are told of

the wives of the chief in

seduced this and that married woman.

For a time,

Mokadayu had a

brilliant

as a

medium, extraordinary phenomena

spiritualistic

and very lucrative career

happening in his hut, especially dematerializations of various valuable objects thus transported to the spirit

But he was unmasked, and

land.

it

was proved that

the dematerialized objects had merely remained in his

own

possession.

Then

there

came about the dramatic

incestuous love with his girl,

She was a very beautiful

and, being a Trobriander, she had, of course,

lovers.

became to

sister.

incident of his

Suddenly she withdrew chaste.

The youth

all

many

her favours and

of the village,

who

confided

each other their banishment from her favours.


THE MIRROR OF TRADITION

99

decided to find out what was the matter.

It

soon

appeared that, whoever might be the privileged

rival,

the scene must be laid in her parental house.

One made

evening when both parents were away, a hole was

and through

in the thatch

the discarded lovers saw

it

a sight which shocked them deeply

;

were caught in flagrante

delicto.

A

broke out in the

which, in olden days, would

village,

have end^ed

certainly

brother and sister dreadful scandal

in the suicide of the guilty pair.

Under the present conditions they were able it

to brave

out and lived in incest for several months

married and

left

she

till

the village.

Besides the actual brother and sister incest, there as

have

I

said, a

is,

breach of exogamous rules which

A woman man under the

same clan

is

called suvasova.

of the

bidden to a

penalty of shame and an

eruption of boils

ailment there

all

is

informants told

a magic, which,

me

with

a

many

as

self-satisfied

incidents

in reality small,

rules of official morality,

A young man who

of

is

such

and as with many other

he who breaks is

my

of

smirk,

The moral shame

efficacious.

fellow.

for-

over the body. Against this second

absolutely is

is

a read

Don

it is

a smart

Juan, and

who

has a good conceit of himself, will scorn the unmarried girls,

and try always

woman, of

have an intrigue with a married

especially a chief's wife, or else

suvasova.

" Oh,

to

thou

The

expression

exogamy breaker

!

'

commit acts

suvasova

yoku

',

" sounds something


SEX AND REPRESSION

100 " Oh,

like,

you gay dog

"

!

and

a facetious com-

is

pliment.

To complete

the picture, the negative evidence

may

be stated here that not one single case of mother-son incest could be found, not even a suspicion of

the loudness and stringency of the taboo

is

it,

though

by no means

summary sentiments among the

so great as in the brother-sister incest. In the

given above of the typical family Trobrianders,

I

have stated that the relations between

and daughter are the only ones

father

same pattern as

built

As could be

in a patriarchal society.

expected therefore, father-daughter incest

means

rare occurrence.

Two

up on the

is

of

by no

or three cases in which

there seem to be no doubt whatever are on record.

One

of

them concerned a

who, besides her relations

girl,

with her father, was the sweetheart of a local boy then

my

in

service.

He wanted

to

marry

her,

and appealed

me for financial and moral support in this enterprise therefore had full details of the incest, which left me

to I

in

;

no doubt whatever about the relationship and

its

long duration.

So far we have spoken about the sexual taboo and the repressed wish to break

it,

which

in dreams, in acts of crime

and

however,

fraught

another

relation

criminal desires, that of a

man

the brother of his mother. there

is

finds expression

passion.

with

There

is,

repressed

towards his matriarch,

With regard

to dreams,

one interesting fact to be noted here

:

the


THE MIRROR OF TRADITION

namely, that in prophetic dreams of death

belief,

always be a veyola

will

son,

sister's

who

and not

action

A man who

fact belonging to the sphere of

dreams

his

is

connected with witchcraft.

Very often a man

own mother. So

learning sorcery,

among

victim from

first

relatives.

maternal

kinsman), usually the

has acquired the black magic of disease

must choose maternal

of

(real

it

foredream his uncle's death.

will

Another important

his

loi

that

his

is

known

to be

kinsmen, that means his

real

relatives, are

said to choose

is

when anyone

near

his

always frightened and on the

look out for personal danger. In the chronicles of actual crime, there are also several

cases

problem.

One

to

be

of

them happened

Osapola, half an hour time,

and

I

registered,

bearing

actors well.

brothers, the eldest blind.

I lived at

that

There were three

The youngest one used

always to take the betel nut before

and deprive the blind man

our

in the village of

away from where

knew the

on

it

properly ripened

of his share.

The bhnd man

one day got in a dreadful fury and, seizing an axe,

somehow managed

to

wound

the youngest brother.

The middle one then took a spear and one.

He was

killed the

sentenced to twelve months' imprison-

ment by the white

resident magistrate.

regarded this as an outrageous injustice. of one brother

bhnd

by another

certainly a dreadful

The natives The

killing

is

a purely internal matter,

crime

and an awful tragedy,


SEX AND REPRESSION

102

but one with which the outer world cerned,

and

in

is

can only stand by and show

it

no way con-

its

horror and

There are other cases of violent quarrels,

pity.

and one

or

two more murders within the matrilineal

family, which I have

Of

parricide,

on record.

on the other hand, there

is

not one single

Yet to the natives, as

case to be cited. parricide

fights,

would be no

I

have

said,

tragedy, and would

special

be merely a matter to be settled with the father's

own

clan.

Apart from the dramatic events, the crimes and tragedies which

shake the tribal order to

its

very

foundations, there are the small events which indicate

merely the boiling of the passions under the apparently firm

up

and quiet its

For, as

surface.

we

norms and

traditional

saw, society builds

ideals,

and

trammels and barriers to safeguard them.

up

sets

Yet these

very trammels provoke certain emotional reactions.

Nothing surprised

me

so

much

in the course of

sociological researches as the gradual perception of

my an

undercurrent of desire and inclination running counter to the trend of convention, law right, the principle that

mother

claim

all affection,

is

line,

Mother-

unity of kinship exists only

and that

in the

and morals.

this unity of kinship should

as well as all duties

and

loyalties,

the dictate of tradition. But in reality friendship and

affection to the father,

and

desires with him,

community

of personal interest

combined with the wish to shake


THE MIRROR OF TRADITION off the

exogamous trammels

of the clan

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;these are the

which flow from personal inclination and

live forces

the experiences of individual contribute

103

much

life.

And

these forces

to fan ever-present sparks of

enmity

between brothers, and between the mother's brother

and the nephew. individual,

we

So that

in the real feelings of the

have, so to speak, a sociological negative

of the traditional principle of matriliny.^ ^

This point has been elaborated by the writer in Crime and

Custom,

1926.


IV

OBSCENITY AND MYTH

TT TE

now proceed

to the discussion of folk-lore in

relation to the typical sentiments of the matrilineal family,

plot on the

and with

boundary

this

we

enter the best cultivated

and anthro-

of psycho-analysis

pology. It has long been recognized that for one reason or another the stories related seriously about ancestral

times and the narratives told for amusement correspond to the desires of those

The lore

among whom they

are current.

school of Freud maintain, moreover, that is

folk-

especially concerned with the satisfaction of

repressed wishes

and that

by means

of fairy tales

and legends

;

this is the case also \vith proverbs, typical

jokes and sayings and stereotyped

Let us begin with these

last.

modes

of abuse.

Their relation to the

unconscious must not be interpreted in the sense that

they satisfy the repressed cravings of the person abused, or even of the abuser.

For instance, the expression

widely current among oriental races and '

many savages,

eat excrement,' as well as in a slightly modified form

among

the Latins, satisfies directly the wish of neither.

Indirectly

it is

only meant to debase and disgust the

person thus addressed.

Every form 104

of abuse or

bad


THE MIRROR OF TRADITION

105

language contains certain propositions fraught with

Some

strong emotional possibilities.

emotions of disgust and shame attention to, or impute,

bring into play

others again

;

certain actions

draw

which are

considered abominable in a given society, and thus

wound

Here belongs

the feelings of the listener.

blasphemy, which in European culture reaches

its

zenith of perfection and complexity in the innumerable variations of

Me cago

'

en Dios

the sonorous Spanish all

the various abuses

and the

like, all of

for they indicate

'

Here, also, belong

spoken.

is

by

despised or degraded

pullulating wherever

!

reference to social position,

criminal

occupations,

them very interesting

what

habits,

sociologically,

considered the lowest depth

is

of degradation in that culture.

The incestuous type addressed

is

of swearing, in

invited to have connection with a forbidden

relative, usually the

mother,

easily take the lead,

of

'

('

its subject,

incestuous expressions

thy mother

wife.'

;

viith

thy

and because it plays an important

The natives there have three

part in the Trobriands.

sister

Have connection

This type of swearing interests us most,

mother').

'

Europe the speciahty

in

with the numerous combinations

Yob twayu mat

because of

is

among whom the Russians

of the Slavonic nations,

'

which the person

' :

Kwoy

inani'

'

Cohabit with

Kwoy lumuta — cohabit with Kwoy um kwava — cohabit with '

'

and

'

;

'

'

'

The combination

'

of the three sayings

is

thy thy

curious


io6

SEX AND REPRESSION

in itself, for

we

the most

see, side

by

types of intercourse used for the same

illicit

The gradation

purpose of offending and hurting. intensity

more remarkable.

still

is

invitation to maternal incest in chaff or as

Jericho

most

is

is

but a mild term used

a joke, as we might say,

offence,

'

Oh, go to

and one used only when

But the worst

aroused.

of

For while the

the mention of sister incest in abuse

',

serious

anger

most lawful and

side, the

insult,

is

a

real

one which

I

have known to be seriously used at the most twice,

and once, indeed,

it

was among the causes

incident of fratricide described above,

to have connection with the wife. is

so

bad that

sojourn

the

in

pronounce

I learnt of its

it

is

Trobriands,

and no native would

but in whispers, or consent to make any

mode

yet

it is

of abuse.

it

stands in no

?

It is

distinct relation to the

enormity or unpleasantness of the is

This expression

the psychology of this gradation

obvious that

incest

the imperative

existence only after a long

jokes about that incongruous

What

is

of the

act.

The maternal

absolutely and completely out of the question,

the mildest abuse.

of the action be

Nor can the

criminality

the reason for the various strengths of

the swearing, for the least criminal, in fact the lawful connection,

is

the most offensive

real cause is the plausibility

and

when imputed.

The

and the

reality of the act,

and

social degradation

the feeUng of shame, anger,

at the barriers of etiquette being pulled

down and the


THE MIRROR OF TRADITION naked

reality

brought to

masked by a most

is

rigid

not so strict of course as that between

etiquette,

brother and tion of

For the sexual intimacy

light.

between husband and wife

107

sister,

but directly aiming at the elimina-

any suggestive modes

jokes and indecencies

Sexual

of behaviour.

must not be pronounced

And

in the

company

of the

two

personal,

direct

sexuality of the relation in coarse

language

is

consorts.

a mortal offence to the sensitiveness of the

Trobrianders. This psychology just because

abuse

discloses that

it

is

extremely interesting,

one of the main forces of

the relation between the reality and

in

lies

to drag out the

plausibility of a desire or action

and

its

conventional

repressions.

The

between the abuse by mother and by

relation

sister incest is

made

Its strength is

measured mainly by the likehhood of

clear

by the same psychology.

reality corresponding to the imputation.

mother incest,

incest

is

The idea

as repugnant to the native as

probably even more.

But

of

sister

just because, as

we

saw, the whole development of the relationship and of sexual

life

makes incestuous temptations

of the

almost absent, while the taboo against the

mother

sister is

imposed with great brutality and kept up with

rigid

strength, the real inclination to break the strong taboo is

much more

actual.

Hence

this

abuse wounds to the

quick.

There

is

nothing to be said about proverbs in the


^

:

SEX AND REPRESSION

io8

As

Trobriands, for they do not exist. sayings and other linguistic uses,

I shall

and mutual

mention here

my

the important fact of the word luguta,

used in magic as a word which

to the typical

sister,

being

signifies incompatibility

repulsion.

We pass now to myth and legend, that is, to the stories told with a serious purpose in explanation of things,

and customs. To make the survey

institutions,

of this

very extensive and rich material clear yet rapid, we shall

these

classify

Myths

(i)

of the origin of

three

into

stories

man, and

categories

of the general

order of society, and especially totemic divisions and social ranks

;

(2)

Myths

ments which contain

of cultural

stories

change and achieve-

about heroic deeds, about

the establishment of customs, cultural features and social institutions

;

(3)

Myths associated with

definite

forms of magic.

The

matrilineal character of the culture meets us at

once in the origins of

first class,

man,

that

is,

in the

myths about the

of the social order, especially chieftain-

ship and totemic divisions, and of the various clans

and

sub-clans.

These myths, which are numerous, for

every locality has

its

own

a sort of connected cycle. beijUgs

Cf.

They

all

agree that

human

have emerged from underground through holes

in the earth. ^

legends or variations, form

Every sub-clan has

its

own

place of

the chapter on Mythology in Argonauts of the Western Pacific,

especially pp. 304 sqq.


THE MIRROR OF TRADITION

109

emergence, and the events which happened on this

momentous

determined

occasion

sometimes

privileges or disabilities of the sub-clan.

us most in them

appearance

is

that the

first

What

interests

ancestral groups

whose

mentioned in the myth consist always

is

woman, sometimes accompanied by her

of a

the

brother,

sometimes by the totemic animal, but never by a husband. In some of the myths the of the first ancestress

is

mode of propagating

explicitly described.

She

starts

the line of her descendants by imprudent exposure to the rain

or,

lying in a grotto,

of the stalactites

She

enters her

pierced

or bathing she

;

opened up

'

is

is

'

in this

womb and

is

by the dripping

bitten

way, and a

by a

fish.

spirit child

she becomes pregnant.^

Thus