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Tillyard’s tales

America's Oedipal struggle

By Stella Tillyard   May 2000

It is a truism, but a suggestive one, that the American War of Independence was an Oedipal struggle, the rising up of a brash youth against a controlling father. It follows that the nation born from that conflict endlessly repeats, in other ways, the narrative of its nativity.

Celebration of the new and the young, and the overthrow of the outworn and the old, have always been entwined in the nation’s myths-whether the discovery of the west, the push into space or the belief that individuals can remake themselves, physically, professionally or psychically. Like an inexperienced youth, America is constantly…

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