Specifically dealing with Magritte’s adolescent vision of his drowned mother’s body, Wolfenstein interprets the image of Le Viol as a “pretended mistake,” for instead of seeing his mother’s face (which was covered by her nightgown after her suicidal leap into a river), the thirteen-year old boy saw only the body of the recovered corpse. Horrified by his haunting glimpse of the exposed body and the concealed face, he retaliated, she argues, by painting the face as the body, just as elsewhere he remained his mother as a strangely reversed mermaid whose face and upper body are those of a fish and whose lower torso and legs are human and female. […] He has been seduced and abandoned, the title suggests now, and, committed to an aesthetic strategy that seeks “to make the most familiar objects howl,” he must rape the most familiar of all objects, the first object of his desire.
Susan Grubar “Representing Pornography: Feminism, Criticism, and Depictions of Female Violation” Critical Inquiry. Vol. 13, No. 4, Summer, 1987. p.724