(In Freudian theory) the occasion on which a child becomes aware of its parents' sexual intercourse, the timing of which is thought to be crucial in determining predisposition to future neuroses.
- Rolfe insists that the story (a Freudian primal scene in which the father is displeased by the son who watches his mother bathing) was told to him by his brother as a cautionary tale.
- Freud clearly believed that the patient's apparent cure after his first period of analysis was the result of making conscious his presumed infantile observation of the primal scene.
- The context - in this case, a novel of artistic development - is more extensive than the short story and underlines the importance of reading the episode as a symptom of a repressed primal scene of cultural amalgamation.
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Syllabification: pri·mal scene
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