“Please don’t tell, no-no-no…” Repression and self-doubt are expressed by a struggling Holly in his original nervous ditty, “Peggy Sue.” This apprehension turns into indifference with a hint of anger in the second, more rockin’ version.
Holly, like most males, is struggling with an Oedipus complex- essentially wanting to love his mother and get rid of his father. With this comes a castration complex; he is afraid that his manhood could be taken away from him, thus making him fail at loving Peggy properly. Even though Holly’s mother is the ultimate goal, Holly invests his emotions in Peggy instead; loving her is okay but loving his mother is not. The relationship between Peggy Sue and Holly’s mother is evident with lines like, “She’s the one, I’ve been told/ Now she wears a band of gold.” This “band of gold” must represent something for Holly. It must have had some sort of effect on his life prior to Peggy Sue- it seems as if it had caused him some sort of pain. Holly saw his mother’s band of gold as the reason he couldn’t be with her- a constant reminder that his father had what he needed.
Peggy Sue, being a woman, naturally wants to be taken care of by a man. She is inclined to submit to the societal norm of marriage when she realizes her natural female Penile envy. Since she couldn’t be satisfied by Holly, she had to find someone else to fulfill her needs. This meant that she had to leave Holly and now he’s alone and emotionally confused . This only furthered his Oedipus complex and now he is dealing with feeling even more inferior. First he was rejected by his mother and now Peggy Sue.
The unconscious is the main site of creativity and obviously thoughts of Peggy Sue have been deep-seeded into Holly’s unconscious, “You recall the girl that’s been in nearly every song.” Being sensitive about this subject, and being bombarded by the anger he feels toward Peggy Sue’s new husband and his own father, he quickly gets uncomfortable and focuses again on his confusion, “This is what I heard, of course the story could be wrong.” He is comfortable describing his confusion because that’s one feeling that is socially okay to have.
In the second, more upbeat version of Peggy Sue, Holly’s self-doubt develops into indifference and apathy toward the situation. He has realized why Peggy Sue left him and he has come to the conclusion that he lacks the ability to please the women he loves and is too embarrassed to admit to it. Now he has been so emotionally beaten down by that fact that he is pretending to not really care. He has somewhat gotten over it, or is atleast trying to ignore his feelings so he can move on. He feels as if he has wasted too much time on this girl and has recognized that every relationship he has wanted in his life (his mother, Peggy Sue) has been ruined by a wedding ring and he is trying to recover and move on with his life.
Peggy Sue was just a medium through which Holly acted out his feelings toward his mother. The let down of this relationship was devastating to Holly and left him emotionally drained and embarrassed to admit his true feelings. In the second version, Holly’s situation is turned into a renunciation of these same girls and is portrayed as sick of being left behind and is ready to forget the pain both women have caused him.