Friday, March 16, 2012

Significant Moments: A Mother's Belief in her Son

          At the risk of displeasing innocent ears I propose . . . 
Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
               . . . that the mother of a creative man who achieves prominence has conveyed to her son a feeling of great "specialness" in herself, which she has passed on to him. It is as if she says, "You have something unique, better than your father, and you get it all from me."
Margaret Brenman-Gibson, Clifford Odets: American Playwright.
          Freud recorded an anxiety-ridden dream of his mother's death, from his seventh or eighth year; correspondingly, she too once reported a dream of her son's death. By then she was an old woman, for whom dying was not a distant prospect.  In her dream she was at Sigmund's funeral, and around his casket were arrayed the heads of state of the major European nations. For an old mother, even a Jewish one, to experience such a dream is not implausible, but to permit an account of having dreamed of such a catastrophe to cross her lips because it depicted the fame her beloved son had achieved, does reveal something about the nature of her own yearnings which had been satisfied through her son's career.
Paul Roazen, Freud and His Followers.
          He was eleven or twelve, sitting with his parents in one of the restaurants in the Prater, Vienna's famous park. A strolling poetaster was wandering from table to table, improvising for a few coins little verses on any theme proposed to him. "I was sent off to ask the poet to our table and he showed himself grateful to the messenger. Before inquiring for his topic, he dropped a few verses about me and, inspired, declared it probable that some day I would become a cabinet minister."
Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time.
          Amalie must have cherished the heroic prophesies that were made about Freud in his early years. More personally for her, [her] dream, at least according to her son's theory, may also have expressed a hidden meaning through a thematic polarity. For through the multiplication of father figures she may have been
accentuating the opposite of the dream's manifest content — that Freud really belonged to her alone and that he was more her son than his father's.  Simultaneously, for dreams can have many levels, this dream may have been an attempt at compensation for the loss of her son; she might no longer have him, but she was assured that the world did.
Paul Roazen, Freud and His Followers. 

In an interview, Ambassador Robert S. Strauss recalled that his mother was fond of saying at family gatherings, “My son Bobby is going to be a diplomat, and he’s going into politics, and he’ll be the first Jewish governor of the state of Texas.”

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