In “Man Child: A Black Lesbian Feminist's Response, ” African-American poet and essayist Audre Lorde asks us to “consider the two western classic myth/models of mother/son relationships: Jocasta/Oedipus, the son who fucks his mother, and Clytemnestra/Orestes, the son who kills his mother” (76). These ancient myths are continually retold and reenacted in Western culture and function, in Louis Althusser's terms, as ideological apparatuses that interpolate mothers and sons into specific relationship positions that are most fully dramatized in the narratives of Clytemnestra and Jocasta. The sanction against mother-son closeness and connection is signified and achieved by the incest taboo, while the enforcement of mother-son separation is represented and enforced by the murder of Clytemnestra. Both patriarchal narratives are enacted through the denial and displacement of the maternal presence.
I open this chapter referencing the above narratives because it is my contention that maternal erasure and disconnection are central not only to patriarchal thinking on mothers and sons but also to Anglo-American