The distinguishing mental features of melancholia are a profoundly painful dejection, cessation of interest in the outside world, loss of the capacity to love, inhibition of all activity, and a lowering of the self-regarding feelings to a degree that finds utterance in self-reproaches and self-revilings, and culminates in a delusional expectation of punishment. This picture becomes a little more intelligible when we consider that, with one exception, the same traits are met with in mourning. The disturbance of self-regard is absent in mourning; but otherwise the features are the same. Profound mourning, the reaction to the loss of someone who is loved, contains the same painful frame of mind, the same loss of interest in the outside world—in so far as it does not recall him—the same loss of capacity to adopt any new object of love (which would mean replacing him) and the same turning away from any activity that is not connected with thoughts of him. It is easy to see that this inhibition and circumscription of the ego is the expression of an exclusive devotion to mourning which leaves nothing over for other purposes or other interests. It is really only because we know so well how to explain it that this attitude does not seem to us pathological. — Freud, Mourning and Melancholia.
Alex Balk, Smoker
Carol Diehl, Art Critic
Matthew Gallaway , Novelist
Megan Lubaszka, Architect
Angela Serratore, Historian
Tim Siedell, Ad Man
Natasha Simons, Writer
Dave Wilkie, Ad Man
A Freudian Analysis of Ms. Sally Draper
I’m going to wager that when Sally reaches sexual maturity there’s a good chance that she’s going to equate getting slapped around, debased, or humiliated with sexual pleasure.
This is thanks, in part, to Betty’s thwack across young Sally’s face post her slumber party diddle. Also keep in mind that Betty was in her night gown and noticeably flushed from some carnal interactions with her new husband (and Sally’s replacement dad) when she struck Sally. Then in Sally’s bedroom, in the dark, with Sally on the bed coming up to about Betty’s mid section, Betty berates Sally for her solo act and then goes back into the bedroom where Sally’s dad, Don, used to sleep.
So let’s parse this family romance via some primary text by Freud
ON DON AND SALLY AND BETTY
*The little girl is affectionately fixated on the father, who has probably done everything to win her love, and who is thus sowing the seeds of hatred and competition towards the mother, which co-exists with a current of affectionate devotions, and which may have the option of becoming increasingly strong and more clearly conscious, or else provide the impetus for an immoderate reactive bond of love with her.
ON THE GLENN, SALLY, BETTY TRIANGLE
*At about the period I have mentioned (6-8 years old), then, the child’s imagination becomes engaged in the task of getting free from the parents of whom he now has a low opinion and of replacing them by others, who as a rule, are of higher social standing…The technique used in developing fantasies depend on the ingenuity and the material which the child has at his disposal.
WATCH OUT, BABY GENE
*The loss of the parent’s devoted care, either actually experienced or justly feared the sense that all of one’s possessions will henceforth and for ever have to be shared with the new child, have an awakening effect on the child’s emotional life and its ability to think. The older child manifests unconcealed hostility towards its competitor, expressed in unkind judgements about the newcomer, in the desire that ‘the stork can take him away again’ and the like, and sometimes even in minor attacks on the baby as it lies helplessly in the cradle.
SALLY’S GOING TO HAVE A PUERTO RICAN BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND
*The mother is the subject of the most sexual curiosity… The motive of revenge and retaliation it is, as rule, precisely these neurotic children who were punished by their parents for sexual naughtiness and who now revenge themselves on their parents by means of fantasies of this kind.
If we were consulting Freud, then it’s likely that Sally’s sexual maturity will be delayed or diverted —even perverted- due to Betty’s violent interruption, the arrival of the new baby, Don’s departure, and the delinquent influences of Glenn. Arousal, risk, guilt, shame, pain, abandonment, humiliation at the hands of a fearsome matriarch, Sally or her shrink are going to have sort these things out.
Nevertheless, this is the task put to us all during puberty overcome our childhood sexual traumas and become functioning adults:
*The liberation of individual, as he grows up, from the authority of his parents s one of the most necessary though one of the most painful results brought about by the course of his development. It is quite essential that liberation should occur and it maybe presumed that it has been to some extent achieved by everyone who has reached a normal state. Indeed, the whole progress of society rests upon the opposition between successive generations. On the other hand, there is a class of neurotics whose condition is recognizably determined by their having failed in this task.
Pete Campbell shows his upstart tendencies early on in season one when he takes that supremely German woman’s research out of Don’s trash to try to impress the Lucky Strike executives. Not surprisingly, the research is uber-Freudian in nature, discussing the controversial “death wish” theory.
Freud posited that, after World War One, people’s desire to live was counterbalanced by a sublimated aggressive streak, known colloquially as the death instinct. This instinct stemmed from a form of masochism, a wish to destroy the corporeal body.
Our German lady thinks maybe this can hoity-toity up the Lucky Strike advertising! Don disagrees, because — well because you try to peddle some of that European fancy talk on a farm hand like Don and you know he is NOT IMPRESSED. Pete, on the other hand, is looking forward to an age of counter-intuitive advertising (and relying a little bit on machismo), and applies the research to smoking; if they can’t say smoking is healthy anymore, maybe they should embrace the risks. Maybe a real man would like to destroy his lungs from the inside out! Or something. The idea is definitely raw, and the Lees of Lucky Strike pretty much decide Pete’s a little crazy for even suggesting it.
Although Lee Jr. knows a little something about self-destructive urges, no?
• footnote - by Natasha Simons