If a history of the development of Melanie Klein's theory were written, her efforts to reconstruct the development of neurotic conflict from experiences in the first months of life might appear less irregular, for it was in her time that J. B. Watson (1919) was stressing that three emotional responses of infants, fear, love, and rage, were universal, and the importance of these affective states became central in Klein's thinking about infant fantasies. She may not have read Watson's work, but in the 1920's his ideas were well known. Klein's revision of classic psychoanalytic theory has been criticized often and sharply,7 with what appears to be impeccable argument. Yet these critiques have convinced none but those already convinced of the fallacies of her theories. Her thesis may be tersely summarized: The psychic life of all infants is dominated by exciting, aggressive fantasies that are motivated by greed, envy,
oral and anal sadism, and hate, all these mixed with or confused by simultaneous erotic longings. The good breast, internalized, restores the lost prenatal unity with the mother. The bad, frustrating breast, also internalized, takes on destructive qualities. Both the good and the bad are introjected and become prototypes of gratifying or persecutory objects. They arouse sadistic fantasies of scooping out the mother's breast and body of all that is good and filling it with all that is bad, with ensuing anxiety. Envy of the mother's breast is constitutional. Primary perceptions of the mother as all good or all bad lead to fantasies of introjection and projection, fears of death, and a paranoid-schizoid position in the first three or four months of life.
In the next few months oral desires are transferred from the mother's breast to the father's penis which, also internalized, is perceived as a good or bad object (Klein, 1943-1944b, p. 219), and then the infant has fantasies of the mother containing the father and the father containing...