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My Oedipus Complex

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  • October 8, 1999
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The story "My Oedipus Complex" by Frank O'Connor deals exclusively with a little boy named Larry and his feelings towards his father. When his father returns home from World War II, Larry is resentful and jealous of losing his mother's undivided attention, and finds himself in a constant struggle to win back her affections.

I really enjoyed "My Oedipus Complex," because it reminded me a great deal of my elementary school days. My brother Brian was born when I was five, and from that day on there was never a moment of peace in the house. He was constantly underfoot, and after he was old enough, spent all his time trying to sweet talk my mother into whatever it was he wanted at the moment. Kissing her hand and lavishing praise on her mothering skills was one of his favorites, and it was usually pretty effective, too. My mother was oblivious to the terror he had inflicted on the rest of the household - me, two dogs, and a school of goldfish - and saw only her sweet, perfect baby boy. For this reason, I saw Larry as a tamer but equally spoiled version of my brother, and his mother as remarkably similar to my own.

I have many memories of my brother's most unforgettable acts, many of them occurring around the time my mother's new boyfriend Rodney started showing up at the house. After his first introduction to my brother, it was was remarkable that he ever came back. "Just a moment ... Do be quiet ... Don't interrupt again!" (97) These were common phrases in our house, as well, and it was no different on that first night Rodney stopped by. Brian was on the warpath, interrupting their conversation every twenty seconds to tell my mother what it was he wanted for Christmas that year. Finally, after about an hour of hearing about toy trucks and Ninja Turtles, my mother was tired, and demanded he go to his room and stay there. However, my brother had just turned four, and had recently learned a new trick to gain my mother's full attention ... without...