This is what the image does culturally, which is t say, oedipally
. In this poem it also refers us back to the portrait of Alison, first to the "likerous ye," and from there to the wincing jolly colt and all th other complexities of her uncomprehended characters as the woman who responds, resists, returns the gaze back upon the man who sent it out, in such a way that he cannot ignore that it is she, with her own feelings and projects, whatever they are, that is doing it.
Yet Freud's (and Lacan's) privileging of the Oedipal, or what Laplanche and Pontalis call his "constant adherence to the thesis of the predominance of the Oedipus complex,"(3) and Irwin's repetition of it, arguably are Oedipally
motivated themselves and need to be critiqued as such.
Moreover, that the figure doing the beating is identified as the father or his representative attests to the fact that the scene is Oedipally
configured, and as such, expresses the desire of a subject that has assumed a position of gender.(20)
Without the intense unconscious push males get from Oedipally
derived castration fears, the female superego ends up weaker than that of males, Freud posited.
(12) Like Guston, like Pollock, Still was an Oedipally
traumatized invader from the West who never settled comfortably into New York--or into his own skin.
In it the poet-father kindly tells the boy that there are two ways of "moving about your death," "good and bad." "In Country Sleep" is a far more arresting and complex treatment involving a loving father's deep, oedipally
colored attachment to his daughter and his concern that she retain her natural innocence and faith in life.