We are left to wonder in the story of Mr Greedy if he ever truly awakens from his slumbers of its opening pages, for beneath the veneer of the moral fable we remain very much situated in the realm of the unconscious throughout. In terms of subject matter, we might also ponder if the message of this work may be somewhat lost on its readership, being perhaps more relevant to a slightly older audience.
In Mr Greedy we meet the adolescent male libido, whose drives his voracious appetite can be taken to represent. He avidly guzzles whatever pleasures come before him, his gluttony implying frequent and fervid self-gratification. It is no surprise that his wanderings through the Freudian wilderness of dream quickly lead him to a cave - the sex. He cannot but venture within, licking his lips as he enters at the delicacies doubtless in store.
And what sights it has to show him - enormous culinary delights beyond all imagination. He bites on a giant apple of temptation, gorges on a colossal plate of bangers. The symbolism of neither is lost. But of course, in the domain of dream we find not only wish fulfilment. We also come face to face with our neuroses, the inner life we repress. The adolescent psyche is a difficult place, with much to process and overcome. Perhaps a little guilt is there at the autoerotic explorations of youth.
Sure enough, a giant appears. The overbearing father figure is once more present with the son in the womb - the battleground, the arena, for this particular complex. There is a telling picture in which we see only Mr Greedy’s head protruding from the vice-like grasp of the giant. With this, Hargreaves confirms that we are witness here essentially to a character wrestling himself, struggling against the pull of powerful internal forces.
And what storms we find have been raging in that bottomless pit of his! Mr Greedy is confronted with the Oedipal hatred and fear that has stalled him thus far at the oral stage of his psychosexual development, his insatiable appetite a regressive rebellion against the internalised paternal archetype. But when faced with the Father now, his guilt commands him to meekly accept the punishment decreed. The giant forces him to gorge on the unthinkable banquet of the mother’s flesh, where the mutual presence of the two locates us.
Mr Greedy emerges from his youthful excesses ostensibly a man of moderation, with increased regulation of his drives. But can we truly say he is cured? Some of the most disturbed criminal minds have found their genesis in less than what has passed here, and we shudder at the thought of what psychopathological maelstroms lie in wait for Mr Greedy. Better let him sleep?