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Chapter 6: Psychological Approaches

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1 Chapter 6: Psychological Approaches
A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature

2 Chapter 6 I. Aims and Principles
A. Abuses and misunderstandings of the psychological approach The approach is abused when it is made an exclusive approach

3 Chapter 6 B. Freud’s Theories
Theory of the unconscious (id, ego, superego) Most of what we do is motivated by the unconscious, especially sexually (libido) Phallic and yonic symbols Child development Oedipus complex, fixation

4 Chapter 6 C. Other Theories
Inspired by Freud, Jacques Lacan developed his own version of the unconscious Symbolic Order & Realm of the Father Realm of the Mother Mirror Stage

5 II. Psychological Approach in Practice
A. Hamlet: the Oedipus Complex Theory of Ernest Jones, Norman N. Holland on Hamlet’s misogyny and ambivalence toward father figures B. Rebellion against the father in Huckleberry Finn Huck’s rejection of parental authority parallels his rejection of values of his society, especially racism, slavery, and religion; river as maternal symbol; Jim as androgynous; story of the child as victim (betrayal-of-innocence theme)

6 C. Prometheus Manqué: The Monster Unbound
Novel’s subtitle points to Oedipal struggle, but revenge turns on Victor’s entire family D. “Young Goodman Brown”: Id over Superego Theme of innocence betrayed; allegory, symbolism, ambiguity; town = superego, Brown = ego, forest = id; obsession, taboos; Brown is not a mature man

7 E. Sexual Imagery in “To His Coy Mistress”
From teasing wit to brutal assault F. Morality Principle Over Pleasure Principle in “Everyday Use” Narrator = ego; Dee = id; Maggie = superego

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