Presentation on theme: "Approaches to Literature Week 8"— Presentation transcript:
1Approaches to Literature Week 8 The Psychological ApproachInterpretation on 3 textbooks & 4 extra worksReference: Miss Julie, The Glass Menagerie, The Streetcar Named Desire, and 追憶似水年華Clips of 追憶似水年華Professor: Hsin-chun Tuan段馨君
2The Psychological Approach: Freud I. Aims and Principles:Benefit--can afford many profound clues toward solving a work’s thematic and symbolic mysteries,Flaw--can seldom account for the beautiful symmetry of a well-wrought poem or of a fictional masterpiece.
3A. Abuses and Misunderstandings of the Psychological Approach Aristotle: definition of tragedy as combining the emotions of pity and terror to produce catharsisSigmund Freud ( )His followers: Jacques LacanAbused Freudian insights through oversimplification and distortion
4B. Freud’s Theories Unconscious aspects of the human psyche Underneath the surface of the iceberg is the subconsciousUnconsciousMotivated by sexual impulsesDesires & memories are repressedId, ego, & superego
5Freud’s TheoriesLike iceberg, the human mind is structured so that its great weight and density lie beneath the surface (below the level of consciousness)The foundation of Freud’s contribution to modern psychology is his emphasis on the unconscious aspects of the human psyche.
6Freud’s second major premise is that all human behavior is motivated ultimately by what we would call sexuality.Freud in 1931 with his chow dogs in Potzieinsdorf,near Vienna. He was known as 'The Clock Man',because he lived his life to such a tight timetable.
7Freud’s third premise is that because of the powerful social taboos attached to certain sexual impulses, many of our desires and memories are repressed ( that is, actively excluded from conscious awareness).
8Several corollaries of Freudian theory The id is the reservoir of libido, the primary source of all psychic energy. It fulfills the primordial life principle, which Freud considers to be the pleasure principle.Freud’s assignment of the mental processes to three psyche zones: the id, the ego, and the superego.
9Ego is the rational governing agents of the psyche Ego is the rational governing agents of the psyche. Though the ego lacks the strong vitality of the id, it regulates the instinctual drives of the id so that they may be released in nondestructive behavioral patterns.
10Acting either directly or through the ego, the superego serves to repress or inhibit the drives of the id, to block of and thrust back into the unconscious those impulses toward pleasure that society regards as unacceptable.The other regulating agent, that which primarily functions to protect society, is the superego.
11Whereas the id is dominated by the pleasure principle and the ego by the reality principle, the superego is dominated by the morality principle.
12II. The Psychological Approach in Practice A. Hamlet: The Oedipus ComplexMisogynyReason of hesitation: incest and parricideWant his mom, not Ophelia nor other women“Get thee to a nunnery”
13The psychological Approach in Practice The usual oedipal triangle of mother, son, and father has been altered by the addition of Claudius in Place of Hamlet's original father. No wonder Hamlet looks disturbed. (from the Branagh version)Ernest Jones points out that Hamlet as a psychoneurotic who suffers from manic- depressive hysteria combined with an abulia– all of which may be traced to the hero’s severely repressed Oedipal feelings.
14Richard Dadd's 1840 oil painting of the closet scene. the character of the ghost and Claudius are dramatic projections of Hamlet’s own conscious- unconscious ambivalence toward the father figure. The ghost represents the conscious ideal of fatherhood. His view of Claudius represents Hamlet’s repressed hostility toward his father as a rival for his mother’s affection.Richard Dadd's 1840 oil painting of the closet scene.
15B. Huckleberry Finn Rebellion Against the Father Huck’s detestable father as the denominator of social authority.Escape the oppressive tyranny and cruel restraints of the superegoBetween land & waterBetween the conscious and the unconsciousDeath and rebirth
16Rebellions Against the Father in Huckleberry Finn Miss Watson and pap Finn both represent social and legal morality. In the light of such authority both Miss Watson and pap Finn may be said to represent the superego. In this sense, it is to escape the oppressive tyranny and cruel restraints of the superego that Huck and Jim take flight on the river.In the novel, both Miss Watson and pap Finn represent extremes of authority
17Lacking a real mother, Huck finds his symbolic mother in the river; in Freudian terms, he returns to the womb. From this matrix he undergoes a series of symbolic deaths and rebirths, punctuated structurally by the episodes on land.Mark Twain’s great novel has this in common with Hamlet: both are concerned with the theme of rebellion– with a hostile treatment of the father figure.
18C. Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus Prometheus Manqué: The Monster UnboundRebellions against the restrictions of patriarchal authorityThe Father must die, either symbolically or literallyProjection of his creator’s idThe monstrous consequences of libidinous obsession, unchecked by ego and ungoverned by superego
19D. “Young Goodman Brown” Id versus superegoTraumatic experience for the youthAllegorical meaningsVillage—consciousness—superegoForest—the unconscious—idstick symbolizes the uncontrollable phallus“nature”: synonymous with “sin”
20Young Goodman Brown: Id Verses Superego The village is a place of light and order, both social and spiritual order. Brown leaves Faith behind the town at sunset and returns to Faith in the morning. The journey into the wildness is taken in the night.Illustration of Brown entering the heart of darkness
21The village, as a place of social and moral order is analogous to Freud’s superego, conscience, the morally inhibiting agent of the psyche; the forest, as a place of wild, untamed passions and terrors, has the attributes of the Freudian id.As mediator between these opposing forces, Brown resembles the poor ego, which tries to effect a healthy balance
22III. Other Possibilities and Limitations of the Psychological Approach If accept the premises—difficult to refuteImpact upon modern writingUpon modern literary criticismDanger: Freud’s theory is not the only approach to literary analysisThough it’s useful, not only limited in this approach— still learn more
23LimitationsPsychological Approach makes it very easy for the reader to treat the fictional characters as real human beings (best example: Hamlet)Analyzer is not omniscient: As Freud’s own difficulty in analyzing his object (e.g. Dora) shows, sometimes in the process of analysis, the “analyzer” must also consider his/her own psychology and bias before applying this approach.
24PossibilitiesFreud’s hypothesis have been modified and corrected, (therefore not deemed as absolute Truth) even within the discipline of psychology studies.For example, the current trend of the related science is in linking our mind/emotion to genetic and biophysical origins other than merely psychological origins.
25Limitations and Possibilities The greatest danger of misusing psychoanalysis is to try applying it to everybody’s every action. This oversimplifies the complexity of the human life.E.g. While Freud gave one of the most ingenious insight of Hamlet in history. If we nail Hamlet’s every decision and trouble to Oedipus Complex then the play Hamlet will lose most of its meanings and become just a family melodrama.We human beings often do things for more than one motivation. Psychoanalysis is not an “answer-for-all- questions”, it is Freud’s way to remind us that we don’t always understand ourselves, that there is always something hidden for we to search.
26August Strindberg’s Miss Julie Julie: That reminds me of a dream I have now and then. I’ve climbed up on top of a pillar. I sit there and see no way of getting down. I get dizzy when I look down, and I must get down, but I don’t have the courage to jump. I can’t hold on firmly, and I long to be able to fall, but I don’t fall. And yet I’ll have no peace until I get down, no rest unless I get down, down on the ground! And if I did get down to the ground, I’d want to be under the earth Have you ever felt anything like that?
27Contrast of the Dreams in Miss Julie Jean: No. I dream that I’m lying under a high tree in a dark forest. I want to get up, up on top, and look out over the bright landscape, where the sun is shining, and plunder the bird’s nest up there, where the golden eggs lie. And I climb and climb, but the trunk’s so thick and smooth, and it’s so far to the first branch. But I know if I just reached that first branch, I’d go right to the top, like up a ladder. I haven’t reached it yet, but I will, even if it’s only in a dream!
28Tennessee Williams’ s The Glass Menagerie Characters: Amanda Wingfield (the mother), Laura (her daughter), Tom (her son), Jim O’Connor (the gentleman caller)While Amanda keeps the pretenseLaura and Tom can no longer sustain their illusionsReality: no success for Tom and no marriage for LauraImaginative world of glass animals whose fragility and uniqueness replicate Laura’s own
29The Streetcar Named Desire Pretense and realityFragile and brutalRapeInsaneImaginationDesiresexuality