The effect of freud s theory of psychoanalysis on

Sigmund Freud


Sigmund Freud, being a nineteenth century neurologist, intricately studied the workings in the human mind, leading him to develop a controversial theory termed psychoanalysis. He differentiated between that which we knowingly do and think, and what what we subconsciously repress, making a model with the separate divisions of the individual psyche and its particular processes. Through this essay I actually shall both equally explain Freud’s theory, along with outline their implications pertaining to literary critique as the unconscious thoughts of the two characters as well as the writer come into play.

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According to Freud’s process of psychoanalysis, your head exists much less one single device, but is pretty separated in to three specific divisions: the conscious mind, the preconscious mind, and the unconscious mind. Freud uses an iceberg analogy to be able to better describe his concepts about the amount of the brain. Here, the conscious mind is displayed as corresponding to the tip of the iceberg, the only part which can be clearly uncovered above sea level. This kind of level involves the thoughts and feelings which were aware of and our realistic everyday thought processes. The preconscious exists just below ‘sea level’, and can be accessed when it is necessary but is not constantly in consciousness, much just like human memories. These are placed just away from our awareness, but we could retrieve these people in response to a trigger including an old photography or a good friend recalling a memory aloud. The largest part of the iceberg which usually expands profound under the drinking water hidden by view is definitely analogous to Freud’s notion of the unconscious. This is a huge thought pool area of typically socially unwanted desires, concerns and anxieties. One of his key tips on this section of the mind may be the idea that this operates outside our recognition, yet still affects our behavior and character without us knowing this. The majority of this kind of level consists of what Freud termed the ‘id’, the basal intuition and needs of the individual mind. The id is comprised of the life span instinct (or eros), which will drives sexual interest and your life sustenance, and the death behavioral instinct (or theros) which is responsible for aggression and self-destruction. Freud argued the fact that ‘ego’ is developed during infancy as a means of including the primitive desires with the id in the reality of society in a safe and acceptable method. The ‘superego’ is, according to Freud, the part of the brain which functions in accordance with moral expectations. Unlike the spirit, the superego causes us to truly feel guilt when we allow themselves to act upon our fundamental desires within an uncompromising vogue. Freud outlined the way in which this guilt or conscience keeps our unconscious desires via manifesting within a socially unacceptable manner when he argued that “Conscience is definitely the internal belief of the rejection of a particular wish operating within us”[1].

When applied to literary critique, Freud’s theory holds effects for the size of characters and their unconscious motives, leading the characters to consider a new placement in relation in the story, perhaps even transitioning from a leading part to an antagonist or vice versa. An example of this can be seen in Holly James’s medieval novel, The Turn of the Screw[2]. Throughout James’s novel, we are presented with the story of a woman who, once taken in a literal contact form, is faced with ghostly apparitions which bother the house she becomes applied at. However , when read in the lumination of Freudian theory, these ghosts be psychological than supernatural. Leonard Orr helps this substitute standpoint and affirms the alignment with Freud’s theory as he states that “to see the ghosts as hysterical projections in the disturbed head of the narratorso the children will be victims, [is to place] the focus within the unconscious mind of the governess and the tools of psychoanalysis”[3]. Without a doubt, from a Freudian perspective, the close and intimate marriage which the governess develops with Flora and Miles could possibly be seen as more perverse than maternal. Whilst gary Gillard helps this idea as he shows that the governess’s repressed lovemaking wishes “take the form of projections of perverted desire, directed at the children, but not manifestly emanating from the governess herself, but just revealed latently so to always be, after a process of psychoanalysis”[4]. Certainly, much of the governess’s discussion with the kids can be construed as holding sexual undertones, such as once she identifies how your woman “held [Miles] to [her] breast, in which [she] may feel in the sudden fever of his little human body the huge pulse of his tiny heart”[5]. If this kind of view will be accepted, the ghosts may not be simply projections of her desire, but rather a product of her superego which encounters guilt. In the event that she realises her actions are incorrect, the apparitions may be a type of wish fulfilment, allowing her to alleviate her guilt by seeing their self as a guard of the children rather than a great antagonist. Below, the governess has undergone a fundamental changeover from hero and anti-hero when the text is got into contact with from a Freudian perspective.

Another key aspect of Freud’s theory which holds implications pertaining to literature is the Oedipus intricate. Having sketched its name in the famous Traditional tragedy Oedipus Rex regarding the man who unintentionally murders his dad and déconfit his mom[6], the idea dictates that all children need to develop via an unconscious interest to their woman parent. In the matter of boys, this leads to an evenly unconscious aspire to rid themselves of their daddy who they deem the main competition for the mother’s love. Indeed, Freud himself stated that “The sexual wishes in regard to the mother be intense plus the father is usually perceived as an obstacle, this provides you with rise to the Oedipus complex”[7]. Along with this comes what Freud termed ‘castration anxiety’. Within this, boys dread that their father is going to take away all their penis which will categorizes these people as men, as a consequence of this kind of perceived rivalry over the like of the mother. To avoid this kind of, boys resolve their anxieties by imitating the dad’s masculine characteristics and behaviours in the desire of one day attaining a sexual relationship with a similarly maternal female. Girls, Freud argues, will be subject to the phenomenon of penis covet, in which offered to blame their mother for lack of male genitals, and subsequently change their unconscious sexual desire off their mother to their father. Rather than an Oedipus complex, ladies develop a related complex, later on labelled the Electra intricate by Carl Jung, through which they experience rivalry with the mother over the attention in the father. Unlike the male, women need for dominance, superiority of a mother or father manifests since anger because oppose to anxiety. This anger leads the female child to fear loosing her single mother’s love because she starts to emulate her mother in a similar manner that the men child imitates the features of his dad. In relation to literary criticism, Freud’s theories with the Electra and Oedipus processes can hold significant implications the moment applied to literary texts which will feature a central parent-child marriage. What may possibly appear as easy conflict more than trivial matters may actually certainly be a sign of an unconscious and unresolved Oedipus or Electra complex. An important example of this is seen in Sylvia Plath’s composition Medusa[8]. From a Freudian perspective, the un-named person who the loudspeaker directs the poem could be interpreted being the speaker’s mom. The poem’s tone seems caught among resentment from the mother and longing for the mother. She’s clearly nasty towards her as she asserts that there “is nothing between [them]” and perhaps, as Freud might recommend, this is the result of lasting anger towards her mother above her conflicting penis covet and tension over desire for the father. This is certainly further advised as the speaker explains to how her supposed mom is still “paralyzing the throwing lovers”, implying that in her eye not only do her mother rob her of her father’s love, but is usually destroying her relationship with her fan who is a replacement for her father. Because of Freud’s theory in the Electra sophisticated, the meaning with the poem becomes one of mother’s rivalry and an uncertain desire for possession of the father.

In addition to a Freudian psychoanalysis of literary fictional characters, his theory can also be applied to authors themselves. In respect to Freud, literary texts are comparable to dreams in how that they are present as manifestations of the subconscious desires and anxieties from the dreamer or writer. Certainly, he suggested that literary texts will get similar treatment to dreams with regards to the process of interpretation and understanding their content. This is outlined in detail in Freud’s text message The Presentation of Dreams[9] in which he proposes that dreams really are a form of want fulfilment of the mind’s repressed unconscious wants which seep through in awareness while asleep. According to Freud’s function, “The presentation of dreams is the regal road into a knowledge of the unconscious actions of the mind”[10]. This individual argued which a dream can be described as combination of recent events which may have occurred in reality, together with the overpowered, oppressed content from the unconscious head, which experience the process of condensation to form 1 image or dream. Coming from a Freudian perspective, materials and other pieces of art are similar in nature to dreams. This kind of theory keeps several significance for freelance writers, as Freudian critics can easily attempt to evaluate their own unconscious thoughts throughout the psychoanalysis with their work. Hank de Höhe highlights this kind of as he claims that “a psychoanalytic model of literary texts along with the reactions to these text messages can tell us a good deal regarding people’s subconscious wishes, about how exactly they have and have absolutely not been able to satisfy these would like, about their parental input, and about their interaction using their social environment”[11]. Nevertheless , it is important to note that by a Freudian perspective, the projection of the author’s mind onto their literary textual content is completely unintended. In other words, the writer can be unaware in addition to that their subconscious desires and anxieties are being in order to manifest this way, but that they can even can be found at all. This again is similar to the Freudian view of the dream, which in turn contains both equally manifest and latent content material. The important content is the manifestation with the unconscious in the dream, even though the manifest articles is all that is remembered about waking.

In conclusion, Freud’s theory as a school of literary critique serves to uncover hidden symbolism in narratives to look into the subconscious of both the characters plus the writer. Functions of materials may appear on the surface being products of rational believed and imagination. However , once studied by a Freudian viewpoint, they may be seen as products of the depths of the mind desires and anxieties in the writer. What may appear to be a harmless event or perhaps description may actually be a home window into the more deeply and darker subconscious brain of the author. Similarly, Freudian criticism motivates us to interact in a related analysis from the characters, stripping away looks to find the subconscious roots of their actions and natures. These types of characters in many cases are driven not merely by their individual unconscious, although by the manifest unconscious with their creator.


De Berg, Hank. Freud’s Theory and Its Use in Literary and Cultural Research: An Introduction. New york city: Camden Residence, 2004.

Freud, Sigmund. The Ego and the ID. New York: Outstanding Editions, [1923] 2014. Amazon kindle edition.

Freud, Sigmund. The Meaning of Dreams. London: Useless Dodo Retro, [1899] 2013. Kindle edition.

Freud, Sigmund. Représentation and Taboo: Resemblances Involving the Psychic Lives of Savages and Neurotics. London: Some great Press, [1913] 2015. Kindle fire edition.

Gillard, Garry. “The Time for the Attach and Psychoanalysis”. In Strengthening Readers: Ten Approaches to Story, by Garry Gillard, 78-88. Kent Town: Wakefield Press, 2003.

James, Henry. The Time for the Screw. Tustin: Xist Classics, [1898] 2015. Kindle edition.

Orr, Leonard. “Reading The Turn of the Screw”. In James’s The Turn of the Screw, by Leonard Orr, 29-64. New York: AC Dark, 2009.

Plath, Sylvia. “Medusa”. In Ariel, by simply Sylvia Plath. London: Faber Faber Poems, [1941] 2010. Kindle copy.

Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. Mineola: Dover Publications, [429 BC] 2012. Kindle copy.

[1] Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo: Resemblances Between the Psychic Lives of Savages and Neurotics (London: Some Good Press, [1913] 2015), Kindle release. [2] Henry James, The Turn of the Screw (Tustin: Xist Classics, [1898] 2015), Kindle model. [3] Leonard Orr, “Reading The Time for the Screw”, in James’s The Turn of the Attach, by Leonard Orr (New York: AIR CONDITIONING UNIT Black, 2009), 39. [4] Garry Gillard, “The Turn of the Mess and Psychoanalysis”, in Empowering Readers: 10 Approaches to Narrative, by Garry Gillard (Kent Town: Wakefield Press, 2003), 82. [5] James, The Turn of the Screw. [6] Sophocles, Oedipus Rex (Mineola: Dover Publications, [429 BC] 2012), Kindle edition. [7] Sigmund Freud, The Ego and the IDENTIFICATION (New York: Stellar Versions, [1923] 2014), Kindle release. [8] Sylvia Plath, “Medusa”, in Ariel, by Sylvia Plath (London: Faber Faber Poetry, [1941] 2010), Kindle edition. [9] Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams (London: Deceased Dodo Antique, [1899] 2013), Kindle copy. [10] Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams. [11] Hank De Berg, Freud’s Theory and Its Use in Literary and Cultural Studies: An Introduction (New York: Camden House, 2004), 11.

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