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Approaches to Literature Week 8

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1 Approaches to Literature Week 8
The Psychological Approach Interpretation on 3 textbooks & 4 extra works Reference: 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

2 The 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.

3 A. Abuses and Misunderstandings of the Psychological Approach
Aristotle: definition of tragedy as combining the emotions of pity and terror to produce catharsis Sigmund Freud ( ) His followers: Jacques Lacan Abused Freudian insights through oversimplification and distortion

4 B. Freud’s Theories Unconscious aspects of the human psyche
Underneath the surface of the iceberg is the subconscious Unconscious Motivated by sexual impulses Desires & memories are repressed Id, ego, & superego

5 Freud’s Theories Like 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.

6 Freud’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.

7 Freud’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).

8 Several 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.

9 Ego 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.

10 Acting 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.

11 Whereas the id is dominated by the pleasure principle and the ego by the reality principle, the superego is dominated by the morality principle.

12 II. The Psychological Approach in Practice
A. Hamlet: The Oedipus Complex Misogyny Reason of hesitation: incest and parricide Want his mom, not Ophelia nor other women “Get thee to a nunnery”

13 The 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.

14 Richard 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.

15 B. 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 superego Between land & water Between the conscious and the unconscious Death and rebirth

16 Rebellions 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

17 Lacking 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.

18 C. Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus
Prometheus Manqué: The Monster Unbound Rebellions against the restrictions of patriarchal authority The Father must die, either symbolically or literally Projection of his creator’s id The monstrous consequences of libidinous obsession, unchecked by ego and ungoverned by superego

19 D. “Young Goodman Brown”
Id versus superego Traumatic experience for the youth Allegorical meanings Village—consciousness—superego Forest—the unconscious—id stick symbolizes the uncontrollable phallus “nature”: synonymous with “sin”

20 Young 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

21 The 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

22 III. Other Possibilities and Limitations of the Psychological Approach
If accept the premises—difficult to refute Impact upon modern writing Upon modern literary criticism Danger: Freud’s theory is not the only approach to literary analysis Though it’s useful, not only limited in this approach— still learn more

23 Limitations Psychological 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.

24 Possibilities Freud’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.

25 Limitations 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.

26 August 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?

27 Contrast 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!

28 Tennessee 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 pretense Laura and Tom can no longer sustain their illusions Reality: no success for Tom and no marriage for Laura Imaginative world of glass animals whose fragility and uniqueness replicate Laura’s own

29 The Streetcar Named Desire
Pretense and reality Fragile and brutal Rape Insane Imagination Desire sexuality

30 普魯斯特的長篇小說 追憶似水年華 全書七卷 法文原版三千頁 中文兩百萬字 敘述者”我” 藉文學創作再現昔日時光
愛上阿爾貝蒂娜—尋找不告而別的她 法國第三共和國時期 《在斯萬家那邊》--瑪德蘭小蛋糕浸茶喝 無意識回憶 (la mémoire involontaire) 《在蓋爾芒特家那邊》--貴族的冷酷與自私 《復得的時間》--沉靜面對死亡, 作品永恆時間

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