The short story My Oedipus Complex written by F. O’Connor in 1963 is a story about the boy named Larry, who holds a great love for his mother and hatred for his father, just the same as the psychological phenomenon in which the story was named after. With a humorous style mixed with satire, the author has successfully portrayed the boy with extremely outstanding personality traits.
Like all five-year-old kids, Larry is truly naive; nevertheless, his lack of knowledge seems to be considered because of leading to his misunderstood perception about some people and events around him. Firstly, his concept of family is a bit inaccurate. In the story O’Connor (1963) shown that the father is just like a strange guest who occasionally stays at home and leaves a toy box full of cool things stored on top of the cabinet while it is the mother that is everything for him; she is his mother, his friend, and even his lover.
Larry cannot understand the relationship among family members; therefore, he always wishes that someday he would marry his mother and give birth to babies. Neither did he understand the paternal and maternal relationship, he also did not have any knowledge about that between husband and wife. The fact that his father sleeps in the same bed as his mother makes him confused because he thought that sleeping together was a harmful habit (O’Connor, 1963).
The second detail showing Larry’s naivety is illustrated by his inability to understand how a baby is created. The boy believes that people have to pay seventeen and six for a baby although he knows the Geneys up the road, who have already had a baby, never could afford that amount of money (O’Connor, 1963).
Because of this ignorance, the boy always thinks that he and his mother will have a lot of babies and then he feels completely satisfied because his mother says the wish will soon come true. The mentioned examples clearly show that Larry’s ignorance is due to his naivety as a child and the fact that he cannot think critically to analyze what is told by adults, namely the mother, to determine whether to believe them or not.
Accompanied by the naivety, another prominent characteristic of the boy is the egocentricity (Greco, 2018). In his five years of life, he is the only one enjoying his mother’s love, care, and absolute attention, but now another man takes all of them without any effort. His mother keeps paying attention and talking to that man; moreover, the thing drives Larry angrier is that his mother ignores all of his discomforts although he has shown them obviously.
After the family welcomes a new member, the father is no longer the only opponent of Larry; Sonny, the younger brother, also becomes an object of hatred (O’Connor, 1963). Previously, he was always eager to think of having a baby, but now when the family really has a baby, he is not happy at all.
This distaste may not come from the fact that the little boy is really hateful, but it may be because the older brother realizes that he has taken all of the mother’s attention since he is the new center of the family. The selfishness of the boy is not difficult to find in other children of the same age. He has lived only with his mother for the first years of his life so it is reasonable that his attachment and possession desire to the mother are much stronger.
Finally, the personality trait that gives the strongest impression is the boy’s sensitivity. He has a delicate sense of grace which is described at the beginning of the story. O’Connor (1963) revealed a normal morning of the boy when he gets up early and enjoys the view outside of the window in the light of the early morning.
The boy seems to be powered by nature, “ready to illumine and rejoice” (O’Connor, 1963). He uses his imagination and flies his mind into the endless thoughts about what to do during the day, and the imaginary conversation between his feet. The fact that he wants to go into his mother’s room and sleeps in her bed is probably because of his loneliness; he does not seem to have friends to play with, just keeps following his mother.
Living with a gentle and caring mother undoubtedly leaves many imprints in his feelings towards life. Even his sympathy with the father at the end of the story also shows the essence of his personality; he is not just an innocent and selfish boy, but also has a tender heart to sympathize with other people.
In conclusion, with psychological changes described by the ingenious author in an interesting story situation, Larry appears as a naive, creative, slightly stubborn five-year-old boy; however, he also shows delicate emotions and mature features. The boy is certainly capable of capturing the hearts of all readers with personality traits.