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The fact that the townspeople do not realize this dichotomous tension betwee n Richard Cory's outward and inner states is evidenced in the second tension of the poem the tension between Richard Cory and the state of the townspeople . In stark contrast to the description of Richard Cory's apparent life of ease, the townspeople are depicte d as miserable, hardworking sorts : "So on we worked, and waited for the light, / And went without the meat, and cursed the bread." The word so comes immediately after the lin e "To make us wish that we were in his place" and thereby suggests that these people wer e driven by material urges to emulate Richard Cory . There is no indication in the poem that the townspeople realize the error of their positive assumptions about Richard Cory. In addition, there is no internal evidence within th e poem to indicate that the people cease their material striving after Richard Cory's death ; the most any close reader can say on this matter is that he or she simply does not know what the townspeople's reaction is to Richard Cory's death . To infer anything else woul d be to read into the poem something that is not therea critical no-no in the interpretiv e analysis of poetry. Also, the poem gives absolutely no evidence whatsoever for the caus e of Richard Cory's suicide. Hence, it would be a mistake to interpret the poem as a mora l lesson warning against the dangers of materialism . Rather, the safest interpretation i s that appearances can sometimes be misleading .


Novelists who go to psychiatrists are paying for what the y should be paid for.


Human beings are fascinating creatures . Readers can be said to take a psychologica l approach when they try to understand them . The questions asked about characters are the same ones likely to be asked about a person's friends . "Why would he wan t to do something dumb like that?" one might say . Another might shake her head an d comment, "I knew that wasn't going to work . I don't see why she had to try it ." People never seem to run out of speculations about others' motives, relationships, and conversations or, for that matter, their own . They also speculate about dreams, puzzlin g as to their source . Bizarre in their form and ambiguous as to their meaning, dream s are yet powerful enough to frighten, please, and intrigue us . HISTORICAL BACKGROUN D Aristotle knew that human beings are endlessly interesting . As far back as the fourth century BC, Aristotle commented on the effects of tragedy on an audience, sayin g that by evoking pity and fear, tragedy creates a catharsis of those emotions . He was the earliest of many writers and critics down through the centuries to question wh y we are drawn to writing stories and poems and why we like reading them . Does literature make us better individuals? Matthew Arnold believed it could . Poetry, h e said, could "inspirit and rejoice the reader ." Where does the impulse to write com e from? William Wordsworth said poetry springs from "emotion recollected in tranquillity." What is creativity? Samuel Taylor Coleridge thought there were two type s of creativity : the primary imagination, which he described as "the living power an d prime agent of all human perception," and the secondary one, which was capabl e of re-creating the world of sense through its power to fuse and shape experience . As Coleridge explained it, "[Creativity] dissolves, diffuses, dissipates, in order t o 49





recreate ." Even Friedrich Nietzsche spoke of personalities as being Apollonian, by which he meant they were guided by the use of critical reasoning, or Dionysian , referring to personalities ruled by creative-intuitive power . All such questions and theories are psychological . They are efforts to explain th e growth, development, and structure of the human personality. Until the latter part o f the nineteenth century, however, such speculation lacked the broad theoretical basis that would support those early attempts at understanding ourselves . It was then that Sigmund Freud (18561939) advanced his startling theories about the workings o f the human psyche, its formation, its organization, and its maladies . His students and followers, such as Alfred Adler, Otto Rank, and Carl Jung, later built on Freud' s ideas of probing the workings of the human psyche to understand why people act a s they do . Of particular interest to literary critics is Jung, who provided the concepts o f the collective unconscious, myths, and archetypes, which have helped readers se e literature as an expression of the experience of the entire human species . Later, in th e 1950s, Northrop Frye developed Jung's ideas in ways that were more directly applicable to literature . More recently, Jacques Lacan has received serious attention for hi s efforts to build on Freud's work, turning to linguistic theories to assert that languag e shapes our unconscious and our conscious minds, thereby giving us our identity. Preceding the significant contributions of Jung, Lacan, and others, however, Freu d began the quest for understanding by providing new ways of looking at ourselves . Th e power of his theories is evident in the number and variety of fields they have affected fields as disparate as philosophy, medicine, sociology, and literary criticism . Although they do not provide an aesthetic theory of literature, which would explain how literatur e is beautiful or why it is meaningful in and of itself, their value lies in giving readers a way to deepen their understanding of themes that have always been present in Wester n literaturethemes of family, authority, guilt, as an example . In addition, they provide a framework for making more perceptive character analyses . With Freudian theory, i t is possible to discover what is not said directly, perhaps even what the author did no t realize he was saying, to read between (or perhaps beneath) the lines . The absence of an aesthetic theory makes psychoanalytic criticism both more and less useful to a reader . On the one hand, because it does not contradict othe r schools of criticism, it can be used as a complement to them . That is, instead of ruling out other perspectives on a text, it can exist alongside them, even enrich and exten d them . The French feminist critics, a case in point, have made good use of Lacan' s ideas in forming their own critical approaches . On the other hand, the lack of an aesthetic theory means that psychoanalytic criticism can never account for the beaut y of a poem or the artistry that has created it . The reader must turn to other types o f analysis to explore those other dimensions of literature . PRACTICING PSYCHOLOGICAL CRITICIS M
To understand the discussion that follows, you should read the short story "Youn g Goodman Brown," by Nathaniel Hawthorne, which begins on page 291 .

Today the psychological literary critic can base his inferences on the works of numer ous important theorists, but it is Freud's ideas that have provided the basis for thi s approach, and his ideas are still fundamental to it . To work as a psychological critic , whether you are directly applying Freudian theory or working with the ideas o f his followers, it is necessary to understand some of his concepts about the huma n psyche . FREUDIAN PRINCIPLE S As a neurologist practicing in Vienna in the late nineteenth century, Freud was troubled that he could not account for the complaints of many of his patients by citing any physical cause . Diagnosing his patients as hysterics, he entered upon analyse s of them (and himself) that led him to infer that their distress was caused by factor s of which perhaps even they were unaware . He became convinced that fantasies an d desires too bizarre and unacceptable to admit had been suppressed, buried so deeply in the unconscious part of their being that, although the desires did not have to b e confronted directly, they led to neuroses that caused his patients' illnesses . He concluded that the unconscious plays a major role in what we do, feel, and say, althoug h we are not aware of its presence or operations . Freud did not come by these ideas easily or quickly . As early as 1895, he published, with Joseph Breuer, Studies in Hysteria, an important work asserting that symptoms of hysteria are the result of unresolved but forgotten traumas from child hood . Five years later, he wrote The Interpretation of Dreams, in which he addresse d the fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis, a treatment in which a patient talks t o an analyst about dreams, childhood, and relationships with parents and authority figures . Using free association, slips of language, and dreams, Freud found ways fo r an analyst to help a patient uncover the painful or threatening events that have bee n repressed in the unconscious to make them inaccessible to the conscious mind . In psychoanalytic criticism, the same topics and techniques form the basis for analyzing literary texts . Just after the turn of the century, Freud himself began to apply his theories t o the interpretation of religion, mythology, art, and literature . His first piece of psychoanalytic criticism was "Delusions and Dreams in Jensen's Gradiva" (1907) . In i t he psychoanalyzed the central character, noting the Oedipal effects behind the plot . (Freud was not alone in asserting the close relationship between dreams and art . I n 1923 Wilhelm Stekel published a book on dreams, saying that no essential differenc e exists between them and poetry . Around that same time, F. C . Prescott, in Poetry an d Dreams, argued for a definite correspondence between the two in both form and con tent .) The concern with literature soon turned to the writers themselves and to artist s in general, as Freud questioned why art exists and why people create it . In that search , he wrote monographs on Dostoyevsky, Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, Goethe, an d others . Freud's sense of the artist, finally, was that he is an unstable personality wh o writes out of his own neuroses, with the result that his work provides therapeuti c insights into the nature of life not only for himself but also for those who read .





As Freud commented in Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis, "The artist ha s also an introverted disposition and has not far to go to become a neurotic . " In 1910 the depth that Freud's approach could add to literary analysis was mad e apparent in a (now classic) essay on Hamlet by Ernest Jones, in which Jones argue d that Hamlet's delay in taking revenge on Claudius is a result of the protagonist's ow n "disordered mind ." More specifically, Jones saw Hamlet as the victim of an Oedipa l complex that manifests itself in manic-depressive feelings, misogynistic attitudes, an d a disgust for things sexual . According to Jones, Hamlet delays his revenge becaus e he unconsciously wants to kill the man who married his mother, but if he punishe s Claudius for doing what he himself wished to do, that would, in a sense . mean that he was killing himself . Also derived from his Oedipal neurosis, his repressed desire for Gertrude, who is overtly affectionate toward him, causes him to treat Opheli a with cruelty far out of proportion to anything she deserves . When he orders her to a nunnery, the slang meaning of brothel makes it clear that he sees all women, even a guiltless one, as repugnant . Throughout the play, his disgust toward sexual matter s is apparent in the anger evoked in him by the marriage of Claudius and Gertrude a s well as in his repulsion of Ophelia . Since Freud's era, and since Jones's landmark essay appeared, psychoanalyti c criticism has continued to grow and develop, generating, for example, the relate d genre of psychobiography, which applies psychoanalytic approaches to a writer's ow n life . Today psychoanalytic criticism shows few signs of slowing down . Nevertheless . Freud's work continues to provide the foundation of this approach . Although not all of his explanations of how the mind operates are applicable to literary criticism, th e six concepts that follow have had enormous impact on the way we understand wha t we read . They have even affected the way writers construct their works .
The Unconsciou s

confusion of perceptions . In the end, Brown can no longer tell reality from dreams , good from evil .
The Tripartite Psych e

Probably the most significant aspect of Freudian theory is the primacy of the unconscious . Hidden from the conscious mind, which Freud compared to that small portio n of an iceberg that is visible above the surface of the water, the unconscious is lik e the powerful unseen mass below it . Because the conscious mind is not aware of it s submerged counterpart, it may mistake the real causes of behavior . An individua l may be unable to tell the difference between what is happening and what she think s is happening . In short, our actions are the result of forces we do not recognize an d therefore cannot control . In Hawthorne's short story "Young Goodman Brown," for example, Brown find s himself in just such a dilemma . Even well past the events of his night in the forest , he is not sure of what was real and what was a dream . His journey is psychological , as well as physical, for he moves from the security of consciousness to the unknow n territory of the unconscious, a powerful force that directs him in ways he neithe r expects nor understands . He leaves the village of Salem, where social as well a s spiritual order prevails, to go into the forest, where the daylight, and the clarity o f vision and understanding it seems to confer, gives way to darkness and frightful

In an effort to describe the conscious and unconscious mind, Freud divided the huma n psyche into three parts : the id, the superego, and the ego . They are, for the most part, unconscious . The id, for example, is completely unconscious ; only small parts of the ego and the superego are conscious . Each operates according to different, eve n contrasting, principles . The id, which is the repository of the libido, the source of our psychic energy and our psychosexual desires, gives us our vitality . Because the id is always trying to satisfy its hunger for pleasure, it operates without any thought of consequences, anxiety , ethics, logic, precaution, or morality. Demanding swift satisfaction and fulfillment o f biological desires, it is lawless, asocial, amoral . As Freud described it, the id strives "to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance o f the pleasure principle . " Obviously the id can be a socially destructive force. Unrestrained, it will aggres sively seek to gratify its desires without any concern for law, customs, or values . It can even be self-destructive in its drive to have what it wants . In many ways, i t resembles the devil figure that appears in some theological and literary texts, becaus e it offers strong temptation to take what we want without heeding normal restraints , taboos, or consequences . Certainly the id appears in that form in "Young Goodman Brown ." It is presented in the person of Brown's fellow traveler, who appears t o Brown immediately after he thinks to himself, "What if the devil himself should b e at my very elbow!" The narrator suggests the embodiment of Brown's id in the figur e by describing him as "bearing a considerable resemblance" to the young man . Eve n before the older man's appearance, from the very outset of the journey, Brown recog nizes that he is challenging acceptable behavior by leaving the highly regulated life of Salem ; the pull of the id to disregard the usual restrictions and to participate in acts normally forbidden in the village intensifies as he walks deeper into the forest . A s Hawthorne points out, Brown becomes "himself the chief horror of the scene ." To prevent the chaos that would result if the id were to go untamed, other parts o f the psyche must balance its passions . The ego, which operates according to the reality principle, is one such regulating agency . Its function is to make the id's energie s nondestructive by postponing them or diverting them into socially acceptable actions , sometimes by finding an appropriate time for gratifying them . Although it is for the most part unconscious, the ego is the closest of the three pans of the psyche to what w e think of as consciousness, for it mediates between our inner selves and the outer world . Nevertheless, it is not directly approachable . We come closest to knowing it when it i s relaxed by hypnosis, sleep, or unintentional slips of the tongue . Dreams, then, become an important means of knowing what is hidden about ourselves from ourselves . The third part of the psyche, the superego, provides additional balance to the id . Similar to what is commonly known as one's conscience, it operates according to the



morality principle, for it provides the sense of moral and ethical wrongdoing . Parents , who enforce their values through punishments and rewards, are the chief source o f the superego, which furnishes a sense of guilt for behavior that breaks the rules give n by parents to the young child . Later in life, the superego is expanded by institution s and other influences . Consequently, the superego works against the drive of the id an d represses socially unacceptable desires back into the unconscious . Balance betwee n the license of the id and the restrictions of the superego produces the healthy personality. But when unconscious guilt becomes overwhelming, the individual can be sai d to be suffering from a guilt complex . When the superego is too strong, it can lead t o unhappiness and dissatisfaction with the self. For Goodman Brown, the descent into the unconscious (the night in the forest ) presents a conflict between the superego (the highly regulated life he has know n in Salem) and the id (the wild, unrestrained passions of the people in the forest) . Lacking a viable ego of his own, he turns to Faith, his wife, for help . Unfortunately , she wears pink ribbons, a mixture of white (purity) and red (passion), which indicate s the ambiguity of goodness and Brown's clouded belief in the possibility of goodnes s throughout the remainder of his life . The Significance of Sexualit y Prior to Freud, children were thought to be asexual beings, innocent of the biological drives that would beset them later . Freud, however, recognized that it is durin g childhood that the id is formed, shaping the behavior of the adult to come . In fact, Freud believed that infancy and childhood are periods of intense sexual experienc e during which it is necessary to go through three phases of development that serv e specific physical needs, then to provide pleasure if we are to become healthy, functioning adults . The first phase is called the oral phase, because it is characterized b y suckingfirst to be fed from our mother's breast, then to enjoy our thumbs or, later , even kissing . The second is the anal stage, a period that recognizes not only the nee d for elimination but also the presence of another erogenous zone, a part of the bod y that provides sexual pleasure . In the final phase, the phallic stage, the child discovers the pleasure of genital stimulation, connected, of course, to reproduction . If thes e three overlapping stages are successfully negotiated, the adult personality emerge s sound and intact . If, however, these childhood needs are not met, the adult is likely to suffer arrested development . The mature person may become fixated on a behavio r that serves to fulfill what was not satisfied at an early age . The early years, therefore , encompass critical stages of development because repressions formed at that tim e may surface as problems later . Around the time the child reaches the genital stage, about the age of five, he o r she is ready to develop a sense of maleness or femaleness . To explain the process b y which the child makes that step, Freud turned to literature . Referring to the plot o f Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, Freud pointed out that the experience of Oedipus is that of all male children . That is, just as Oedipus unknowingly kills his father and marrie s his mother, a young boy forms an erotic attachment to his mother and unconsciously

grows to desire her . He consequently resents his father because of his relationshi p with the mother . Fearing castration by the father, the male child represses his sexua l desires, identifies with his father, and anticipates his own sexual union . Such a step i s a necessary one in his growth toward manhood . The boy who fails to make that ste p will suffer from an Oedipal complex, with ongoing fear of castration evident in hi s hostility to authority in general . In the case of girls, the passage from childhood to womanhood requires successful negotiation of the Electra complex . In Freudian theory, the girl child, too , has a strong attraction for her mother and sees her father as a rival, but because she realizes that she has already been castrated, she develops an attraction for her father , who has the penis she desires . When she fails to garner his attentions, she identifie s with her mother and awaits her own male partner, who will provide what her femal e physiognomy lacks . In "Young Goodman Brown," Hawthorne clearly implies that Brown's troublin g impulses are sexual and that they are not his alone . The sermon of the devil figur e promises Brown and Faith that they will henceforth know the secret sins of the peopl e of Salem : "how hoary-bearded elders of the church have whispered wanton word s to the young maids of their households ; . . . how fair damselsblush not, swee t oneshave dug little graves in the garden, and bidden me, the sole guest to a n infant's funeral ." The catalogue leaves no doubt that sexual passion is part of th e human condition, and left unrestrained, it leads to grave offenses . Freud explains that as both boys and girls make the transition to normal adulthood, they become awar e of their place in a moral system of behavior. They move from operating accordin g to the pleasure principle, which dictates that they want immediate gratification of al l desires, to an acceptance of the reality principle, in which the ego and superego recognize rules, restraint, and responsibility . Goodman Brown, unable to discern reality or define moral behavior, remains outside the adult world . We are told, "A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man did he become from th e night of that fearful dream ." On the Sabbath, he cannot bear to listen to the singin g of the psalms nor hear the words of the minister's sermon . He lives separate and apart from his society . The Importance of Dream s The vast unconscious that exists beneath the surface of our awareness seems closes t to revelation when we sleep . Our dreams, according to Freud, are the language of th e unconscious, full of unfulfilled desires that the conscious mind has buried there . Thei r content is rarely clear, however, for even in sleep the ego censors unacceptable wishes . Through the use of symbols that make repressed material more acceptable, if no t readily understandable to us, the ego veils the meaning of our dreams from direc t apprehension that would produce painful recognition . As in literature, the proces s may take place through condensation . For example, two desires of the psyche migh t be articulated by a single word or image in a dream, just as they are in a poem . Condensation can also take place through displacementmoving one's feeling for





a particular person to an object related to her, much as metonymy uses the name o f one object to replace another with which it is closely related or of which it is a part . When dreams become too direct and their meanings too apparent, we awaken or, unconsciously, change the symbology . Interestingly, Young Goodman Brown is never certain whether he has dreamed his experience or lived it . Indeed, the ambiguity an d uncertainty about the other villagers and their part in the satanic communion haun t him for the rest of his life . He returns to the village and the light of day, but what i s real and what is fantasy elude him . The meanings of the symbols remain unrevealed to him . As a window into the unconscious, dreams become valuable tools for psychoanalysts in determining unresolved conflicts in the psyche, conflicts that a perso n may suspect only because of physical ailments, such as headaches, or psychologica l discomfort, such as claustrophobia . When dreams appear in literature, they offer rich insights into characters that the characters' outer actions, or even their spoken words , might never suggest . Because dreams are meaningful symbolic presentations tha t take the reader beyond the external narrative, they are valuable tools for critics usin g a psychoanalytic approach .

only dreamed it? The event is still significant, because dreams can function as symbolic forms of wish fulfillment . Brown's nighttime journey, the nature of which is powerfully deepened by the sym bolic imagery, leaves its mark on him . He is thereafter a dark and brooding man, leadin g Richard Adams in "Hawthorne's Provincial Tales" to argue that Brown fails to matur e because he fails to learn to know, control, and use his sexual feelings . That is, he canno t love or hate ; he can only fear moral maturity . He never manages to emerge from hi s uncertainty and consequent despair. He has been required to acknowledge evil in himsel f and others, including his wife, so that he can recognize goodness, but having failed th e test, he is left in a state of moral uncertainty. The result is moral and social isolation .

Freud's recognition of the often subtle and always complex workings of sexualit y in human beings and in literature led to a new awareness of what symbols mea n in literature as well as in life . If dreams are a symbolic expression of represse d desires, most of them sexual in nature, then the images through which they operat e are themselves sexual ones . Their sexuality is initially indicated by shape . That is, physical objects that are concave in shape, such as lakes, tunnels, and cups, ar e assumed to be female, or yonic, symbols, and those that are convex, those whos e length exceeds their diameter, such as trees, towers, and spires, are assumed to b e male, or phallic. Although Freud objected to a general interpretation of dream symbols, insistin g that they are personal and individual in nature, such readings are not uncommon . Although this approach to understanding symbols has sometimes been pushed t o ridiculous extremes, it undeniably has the capacity to enrich our reading and under standing in ways that we would not otherwise discover . The symbols in "Young Goodman Brown" are replete with sexual suggestio n that is rarely made explicit in the story . Many of those that play a part in Brown' s initiation, such as the devil's staff, which is described as "a great black snake . . . a living serpent," are male images, suggesting the nature of Brown's temptation . The satanic communion is depicted as being lighted by blazing fires, with the implicatio n of intense emotion, especially sexual passion . The burning pine trees surrounding the altar, again masculine references, underscore that the repressions of nature exercise d in the village give way to obsessions in the forest . There are female symbols, too . For example, entering the forest suggests returning to the dark, womblike unknown . What if Young Goodman Brown had not actually undergone the experience and had

The connection between creative expression and the stuff of dreams was not los t on Freud . His curiosity about the sources and nature of creativity is reflected in th e monographs he wrote on creative artists from various times and cultures, including Leonardo da Vinci, Shakespeare, and Michelangelo . Freud recognized that th e artist consciously expresses fantasy, illusion, and wishes through symbols, just a s dreams from the unconscious do . To write a story or a poem, then, is to reveal th e unconscious, to give a neurosis socially acceptable expression . Such a view makes the writer a conflicted individual working out his or her problems . Freud explaine d the idea this way in Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis : The artist has also an introverted disposition and has not far to go to become a neurotic . He is one who is urged on by instinctual needs which are too clamorous . He longs t o attain to honor, power, riches, fame, and the love of women ; but he lacks the means o f achieving these gratifications . So, like any other with an unsatisfied longing, he turn s away from reality and transfers all his interest, and all his libido too. to the creation of his wishes in the life of fantasy, from which the way might readily lead to neurosis . In the process of engaging in his or her own therapy, said Freud, the artist achieve s insights and understanding that can be represented to others who are less likely t o have found them . Such views have led some critics to focus their attention not on a text but on th e writer behind it. They see a work as an expression of the writer's unconscious mind , an artifact that can be used to psychoanalyze the writer, producing psychobiography . (A good example of this genre is Edmund Wilson's The Wound and the Bow.) Of course, to do such a study, one needs access to verifiable biographical information , as well as expertise in making a psychological analysis . Most literary critics, thoug h they may be able to find the former, usually lack the latter . Indeed, one might as k whether such an undertaking is literary criticism at all .
Summing Up

In the end, when you make a Freudian (psychoanalytical) reading of a text, you wil l probably limit yourself to a consideration of the work itself, looking at its conflicts,





characters, dream sequences, and symbols . You will use the language Freud provide d to discuss what before him did not have names, and you will have an awareness tha t outward behavior may not be consonant with inner drives . You will avoid oversimplification of your analysis, exaggerated interpretations of symbolism, and excessiv e use of psychological jargon . If you do all this, you will have the means to explore no t only what is apparent on the surface but what is below it as well . As Lionel Trillin g pointed out in The Liberal Imagination, Freud has provided us with "the perceptio n of the hidden element of human nature and of the opposition between the hidden an d the visible . "

Once a favored pupil of Freud, Carl Jung (1875-1961), a Swiss physician, psychiatrist, and philosopher, eventually broke from his mentor, then built on his teacher' s ideas in ways that made Jung an important figure in the new field of psychoanalysis . His insights have had significant bearings on literature as well . Like his teacher, Jung believed that our unconscious mind powerfully direct s much of our behavior . However, where Freud conceived of each individual unconscious as separate and distinct from that of others, Jung asserted that some of our unconscious is shared with all other members of the human species . He describe d the human psyche as having three parts : a personal conscious, a state of awareness of the present moment that, once it is past, becomes part of the individual' s unique personal unconscious . Beneath both of these is the collective unconscious , a storehouse of knowledge, experiences, and images of the human race . It is an ancestral memoryshared and primevaloften expressed outwardly in myth an d ritual . Young Goodman Brown's presence at the forest gathering, for example, ca n be described as participation in a ritual binding the past to the present . As Jun g explained it, "This psychic life is the mind of our ancient ancestors, the way in whic h they thought and felt, the way in which they conceived of life and the world, of god s and human beings ." Its contents, because they have never been in consciousness, ar e not individually acquired . They are inherited . Literary scholars began to understand the relevance of these ideas to literature a s they found correspondences in plots and characters in works by writers in disparat e circumstances who could not have been known to each other . Gilbert Murray, for example, was so struck by the similarities he found between Orestes and Hamle t that he concluded they were the result of memories we carry deep within us, "th e memory of the race, stamped . . . upon our physical organism ." That is why such criti cism is sometimes called a mythological, archetypal, totemic, or ritualistic approach , with each name pointing to the universality of literary patterns and images that recu r throughout diverse cultures and periods . Because these images elicit perenniall y powerful responses from readers the world over, they suggest a shared commonality , even a world order . As a result, archetypal criticism often requires knowledge an d use of nonliterary fields, such as anthropology and folklore, to provide informatio n and insights about cultural histories and practice .

Although the collective unconscious is not directly approachable, it can be foun d in archetypes, which Jung defined as "universal images that have existed since th e remotest times ." More specifically, he described an archetype as "a figure . . . that repeats itself in the course of history wherever creative fantasy is fully manifested ." It is recognizable by the appearance of nearly identical images and patternsfoun d in rituals, characters, or entire narrativesthat predispose individuals from wholl y different cultures and backgrounds to respond in a particular way, regardless of whe n or where they live . Although archetypes may have originated in the unchanging situations of huma n beings, such as the rotating seasons or the mysteries of death, they are not intentionally created or culturally acquired . Instead, they come to us instinctually a s impulses and knowledge, hidden somewhere in our biological, psychological, an d social natures . As John Sanford explained it, archetypes "form the basis for instinctive unlearned behavior patterns common to all mankind and assert themselves i n certain typical ways ." In literature we recognize them and respond to them again an d again in new characters or situations that have the same essential forms we have me t before and have always known . For example, when we meet Huckleberry Finn o r the Ancient Mariner (as Maud Bodkin pointed out in Archetypal Patterns in Poetry) , we are connecting with archetypes, re-creations of basic patterns or types that ar e already in our unconscious, making us respond just as someone halfway around th e world from us might . Archetypes appear in our dreams and religious rituals, as well as in our art an d literature . They are media for the telling of our myths, which, according to Jung, ar e the "natural and indispensable intermediate stage between unconscious and conscious cognition ." By becoming conscious of what is generally unconscious, we integrat e our lives and formulate answers for things that are unknowable, such as why we exist , why we suffer, and how we are to live . By uniting the conscious and unconscious , archetypes make us whole and complete . Living fully, Jung believed, means living harmoniously with the fundamental elements of human nature . In particular, we must deal with three powerful archetype s that compose the self . They are the shadow, the anima, and the persona. All three are represented in literature . The shadow is our darker side, the part of ourselves we would prefer not to confront, those aspects that we dislike . It is seen in films as the villain, in medieval mystery plays as the devil, and in powerful literary figures like Satan in Paradise Lost. Young Goodman Brown clearly confronts (and rejects) his shadow in the figur e of his nocturnal traveling companion . The anima, according to Jung, is the "soul image," the life force that causes one to act . It is given a feminine designation i n men (like Brown's Faith), and a masculine one (animus) in women, indicating tha t the psyche has both male and female characteristics, though we may be made aware of them only in our dreams or when we recognize them in someone else (a proces s Jung referred to as projection) . The persona is the image that we show to others . I t is the mask that we put on for the external world ; it may not be at all what we thin k ourselves to be inside . The persona and anima can be thought of as two contrasting





parts of the ego, our conscious personality . The former mediates between the ego an d the outside world, the latter between the ego and the inner one . To become a psychologically healthy, well-balanced adultor, as Jung put it , for individuation to occurwe must discover and accept the different sides of our selves, even those we dislike and resist . If we reject some part of the self, we are likel y to project that element onto othersthat is . we transfer it to something or someon e else, thereby making us incapable of seeing ourselves as wrong or guilty . Instead , we see another person or institution to be at fault . In these terms, Young Goodma n Brown's despondency can be seen as the result of his failure to achieve individuation . He projects his shadow on the forest companion and later on the entire community . He fails to nurture his anima, leaving Faith behind and, in the end, suspecting her o f the faithlessness he has committed . And, finally, his persona, the face that he show s to the world, is a false one . He is not the "good man," the pious Puritan, he claims t o be . The healthy individual develops a persona that exists comfortably and easily wit h the rest of his personality. Young Goodman Brown, unable to integrate all parts o f his personality, dies an unhappy neurotic, or as Hawthorne puts it, "They carved n o hopeful verse upon his tombstone, for his dying hour was gloom . " There are, of course, many different archetypes, with some more commonly me t than others . Some of the characters, images, and situations that frequently elicit simi lar psychological responses from diverse groups of people can be found in the list s that follow . Whenever you meet them, it is possible that they carry with them mor e power to evoke a response than their literal meanings would suggest .

The hero. Heroes, according to Lord Raglan in The Hero : A Study in Tradition, Myth, and Drama, are distinguished by several uncommon events, including a birth that has unusual circumstances (such as a virgin mother) ; an early escap e from attempts to murder him ; or a return to his homeland where, after a victor y over some antagonist, he marries a princess, assumes the throne, and only late r falls victim to a fate that may include being banished from the kingdom only t o die a mysterious death and have an ambiguous burial . The archetype is exemplified by such characters as Oedipus, Jason, and Jesus Christ . Sometimes the stor y may involve only a journey during which the hero must answer complex riddles , retrieve a sacred or powerful artifact, or do battle with superhuman creatures t o save someone else, perhaps a whole people . The quests of some of the knights i n Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King, such as those made by Gawain an d Galahad, are examples . The scapegoat. Sometimes the hero himself becomes the sacrificial victim wh o is put to death by the community in order to remove the guilt of the people an d restore their welfare and health . On occasion, an animal suffices as the scapegoat , but in literature, the scapegoat is more likely to be a human being . Again, Jesu s Christ is an example, but a more recent retelling of the story is found in Shirle y Jackson's "The Lottery ."

The outcast . The outcast is a character who is thrown out of the community a s punishment for a crime against it . The fate of the outcast, as can be seen in Th e Ancient Mariner, is to wander throughout eternity. Hawthorne's Young Goodma n Brown also finds himself separated from his community following his refusal t o join in the forest communion . He cannot listen to the hymns of the assemble d congregation on the Sabbath, kneel with his family at prayer, or trust in the virtu e of Faith, his wife . He is lonely and alone . The devil . The figure of the devil personifies the principle of evil that intrude s in the life of a character to tempt and destroy him, often by promising wealth , fame, or knowledge in exchange for his soul . Mephistopheles in the legend o f Faust is such a figure, as is the old man whom Young Goodman Brown meets in the forest . The latter carries a snakelike staff and purports to have been present a t ancient evil deeds . Brown even refers to him as "the devil . " Female figures. Women are depicted in several well-known archetypes . Th e good mother, such as Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, is associated with fertility, abundance, and nurturance of those around her . The temptress, on the othe r hand, destroys the men who are attracted to her sensuality and beauty . Like Delilah, who robs Samson of his strength, she causes their downfall . The female who inspires the mind and soul of men is a spiritual (or platonic) ideal . She has no physical attractions but, like Dante's Beatrice, guides, directs, and fulfills he r male counterpart . Finally, women are seen as the unfaithful wife . As she appear s in Flaubert's Madame Bovary, the unfaithful wife, married to a dull, insensitiv e husband, turns to a more desirable man as a lover, with unhappy consequences . The trickster. A figure often appearing in African American and America n Indian narratives, the trickster is mischievous, disorderly, and amoral . He disrupts the rigidity of rule-bound cultures, bringing them reminders of their les s strict beginnings . For example, in the tales of Till Eulenspiegel, which date bac k to the sixteenth century, Till, a shrewd rural peasant, outwits the arrogant towns people and satirizes their social practices .

Colors . Colors have a variety of archetypal dimensions . Red, because of its association with blood, easily suggests passion, sacrifice, or violence . Green, on the other hand, makes one think of fertility and the fullness of life, even hope . Blu e is often associated with holiness or sanctity, as in the depiction of the Virgi n Mary. Light and darkness call up opposed responses : hope, inspiration, enlightenment, and rebirth in contrast with ignorance, hopelessness, and death . Numbers. Like colors, numbers are invested with different meanings . The number three points to things spiritual, as in the Holy Trinity ; four is associated with the four seasons (and, by extension, with the cycle of life) and the four elements (earth, air, fire, and water) . When three and four are combined to mak e seven, the union produces a powerful product that is perfect and whole an d complete .





Water. Another common image, water is often used as a creation, birth, o r rebirth symbol, as in Christian baptism . Flowing water can refer to the passag e of time . In contrast, the desert or lack of water suggests a spiritually barren state , as it does in T. S . Eliot's The Waste Land . Gardens . Images of natural abundance, such as gardens, often indicate a paradise or a state of innocence . The best-known, of course, is the Garde n of Eden . Circles. Circles can be presented simply or in complex relationships with othe r geometric figures . By their lack of beginnings and endings, circles commonl y suggest a state of wholeness and union . A wedding ring, for example, brings to mind the unending union of two people . The sun . Like the seasons, the sun makes one think of the passage of time . At its rising, it calls to mind the beginning of a phase of life or of life itself ; at it s setting, it points to death and other endings . At full presence, it might sugges t enlightenment or radiant knowledge .


The quest . Pursued by the hero, mentioned earlier, the quest usually involve s a difficult search for a magical or holy item that will return fertility and abundance to a desolate state . Certainly, the boy in James Joyce's "Araby" goe s to the bazaar in search of a fitting offering for Mangan's sister, whom he ha s sanctified with his young love . It is both a holy quest and a romantic one . A related pattern is that of the need to perform a nearly impossible task so tha t all will be well . Arthur, for example, must pull the sword from the stone if h e is to become king . Often found as part of both these situations is the journey , suggesting a psychological, as well as physical . movement from one place, o r state of being, to another . The journey, like the travels of Ulysses, may involv e a descent into hell . Death and rebirth . Already mentioned in connection with the cycle of th e seasons, death and rebirth are the most common of all archetypes in literature . Rebirth may take the form of natural regeneration, that is, of submission to th e cycles of nature, or of escape from this troubled life to an endless paradise , such as that enjoyed before the fall into the sufferings that are part of mortality. For example, in "Kubla Khan," Coleridge presents a landscape that is bot h savage and holy, a landscape of heaven and hell, ending with a vision of a transcendent experience in which the speaker/holy man has "drunk the milk o f Paradise ." Initiation . Stories of initiation deal with the progression from one stage of life t o another, usually that of an adolescent moving from childhood to maturity, from innocence to understanding . The experience is rarely without problems, althoug h it may involve comedy . In its classic form, the protagonist goes through the initiation alone, experiencing tests and ordeals that change him so that he can retur n to the family or larger group as an adult member .

In 1957, Northrop Frye advanced the study of archetypes, at least as they apply to lit erature, with the publication of Anatomy of Criticism, in which he presented a highl y structured model of how myths are at the basis of all texts . Although he did not accep t Jung's theories in their entirety, he used many of them as the basis of his efforts t o understand the functions of archetypes in literature . He spoke of a "theory of myths, " by which he really referred to a theory of genres as a way of understanding narrativ e structures . All texts, he concluded, are part of "a central unifying myth," exemplified in four types of literature, or four mythoi, that are analogous to the seasons . Togethe r they compose the entire body of literature, which he called the monomyth . The mythos of summer, for example, is the romance . It is analogous to the birt h and adventures of innocent youth . It is a happy myth that indulges what we want t o happenthat is, the triumph of good over evil and problems resolved in satisfyin g ways . Autumn, in contrast, is tragic . In the autumn myth, the hero does not triump h but instead meets death or defeat . Classic tragic figures, like Antigone or Oedipus , are stripped of power and set apart from their world to suffer alone . In the winte r myth, what is normal and what is hoped for are inverted . The depicted world is hopeless, fearful, frustrated, even dead . There is no hero to bring salvation, no happy end ings to innocent adventures . Spring, however, brings comedy : rebirth and renewal , hope and success, freedom and happiness . The forces that would defeat the hero ar e thwarted, and the world regains its order. According to Frye, every work of literatur e has its place in this schema. Currently the mythic or archetypal approach is less frequently used than it was in earlier decades . Some readers complain that it overlooks the qualities of individua l works by its focus on how any given text fits a general pattern . When a novel is seen as but one of many instances of death and rebirth, for example, its uniqueness i s ignored and its value diminished . However, the process of relating a single work to literature in general and to human experience as a whole gives the work of literatur e stature and importance in the eyes of other readers . It relates literature to other area s of intellectual activity in a reasoned, significant manner. Certainly the archetypal approach is worth knowing and sometimes using, for it yields insights about bot h literature and human nature that other approaches fail to provide . It considers a wor k in terms of its psychological, aesthetic, and cultural aspects, making such an analysi s a powerful union of three perspectives .

Since the 1960s . the Freudian approach, which had waned in popularity, has experienced a renaissance due to the ideas of a French psychoanalyst named Jacque s Lacan . His work has been described as a reinterpretation of Freud in light of th e ideas of structuralist and poststructuralist theories (see Chapter 8) . Looking a t Freudian theory with the influence of the ideas of the anthropologist Claude Lvi Strauss, and linguists Ferdinand de Saussure and Roman Jakobsen, Lacan's work is


far-ranging and complex, innovative and not easily understood . Some would eve n call it obscure . In the mid-1950s, Lacan startled the world of psychoanalysis by calling for a new emphasis on the unconscious but with significant differences from the Freudia n approach . His remarks at a meeting of the International Psychoanalytical Association , and at subsequent conferences, caused the association to expel him . From that point on, Lacan set himself on a course of developing new theories independent of th e established profession . He explained these theories in publications called crits, which were actually lectures for graduate students . Lacan's remarks upset his colleagues not because he was interested in under standing the behavior of the conscious personality by analyzing the unconscious , as the Freudians tried to do, but because he was interested in accepting the unconscious as the core of one's being . Freud's concept of the unconscious as a force tha t determines our actions and beliefs shook the long-held ideal that we are beings wh o can control our own destinies ; Lacan further weakened the humanist concept of a stable self by denying the possibility of bringing the contents of the unconscious int o consciousness . Whereas Freud wanted to make hidden drives and desires consciou s so they could be managed, Lacan claimed that the ego can never replace the unconscious or possess its contents for the simple reason that the ego, the "I" self, is onl y an illusion produced by the unconscious . How we develop this illusion is of particular interest to the Lacanian critic . Another difference from the Freudians was Lacan's notion that the unconscious , the nucleus of being, is orderly and structured, not chaotic and jumbled and full o f repressed desires and wishes, as Freud conceived of it . In fact, Lacan asserted that the unconscious is structured like a language . He expanded such ideas by turning t o Saussure, though with a few modifications . Saussure (see Chapter 8) pointed out tha t the relationship between a word and a physical object is arbitrary, not inherent, an d that it is maintained by convention . We know one signifier from another not becaus e of meanings they naturally carry, but because of the differences signifiers have fro m one another . Unlike Saussure, who saw a signifier and a signified as two parts of a sign, Lacan saw in the unconscious only signifiers that refer to other signifiers . Eac h has meaning only because it differs from some other signifier . It does not ultimately refer to anything outside itself, and the absence of any signified robs the entire syste m of stability . In these terms, the unconscious is a constantly moving chain of signifiers , with nothing to stop their shifting and sliding . The signified that seems to be "the rea l thing" is actually beyond our grasp, because, according to Lacan, all we can have i s a conceptualized reality . Language becomes independent of what is external to it , and we cannot go outside it . Nevertheless, we spend our lives trying to stabilize thi s system so that meaning and self become possible . As evidence for his argument that the unconscious is structured like language , Lacan pointed out that two elements identified by Freud as part of dreams, condensation and displacement, are similar to metaphor and metonymy . More specifically, condensation, like metaphor, carries several meanings in one image . Likewise, displacement, like metonymy, uses an element of a person or experience to refer to the

whole . In addition, the importance that Freud attributed to other linguistic devices , such as slips, allusions, and puns, to provide insight into the unconscious is furthe r evidence of the linguistic basis of the unconscious . Thus, the unconscious, the ver y essence of the self, is a linguistic effect that exists before the individual enters int o it . making it possible to analyze the unconscious . If the linguistic system is extan t before one enters into it, however, there can be no individual . unique self, which i s profoundly disturbing to many. In many ways, these ideas would seem to be more philosophical than literary . They have a bearing on literary analysis, however, i n several important ways . Character Analysi s First of all . Lacan's rejection of the unique self changes our way of examining characters . Rejecting the traditional view of the human self as a whole, integrated bein g and accepting Lacan's view of it as a collection of signifiers that point to no signified , leaving one fragmented and broken, means changing the way we think and talk abou t characters . If the psychologically complete personality is not possible, how is th e reader to view the figures found in narratives ? Lacan's description of how the psyche evolves is helpful in developing new way s of reading to accommodate his views of the self . As he explained it, our movemen t toward adulthood means developing several parts of our personality in search of a uni fied and psychologically complete self. which, though it can never be achieved, ca n be approached by stabilizing the sliding of signifiers . Consequently, we move throug h three stages, or Orders as Lacan calls themthe Imaginary, the Symbolic, and th e Real, corresponding to the experience of need, demand . and desire . Underlying the process, so the assumption goes, is language as the shaper of our unconscious, ou r conscious minds, and our sense of self . The new infant exists in a state of nature, a psychological place characterize d by wholeness and fullness . Unaware of its separateness from the mother or any othe r object that serves its needs . the infant does not recognize a distinction between itsel f and anything else . It exists in the Imaginary Order. Somewhere between six an d eighteen months of age, the baby sees its own reflection and begins to perceive a stat e of separation between itself and the surrounding world, an experience known as th e mirror stage. In this preverbal state, the baby becomes aware of its body only in bit s and pieceswhatever is visible at any given momentbut does not yet conceiv e of itself as whole, although it can recognize other people as such . The mirror stage introduces a sense of possible wholeness, because the image looks like other object s with discrete boundaries . However, the reflection is only an illusion, and we are, i n actuality, not complete selves . The infant only thinks it is real and uses what it see s to create the ego, the sense of "I ." Thus the "self" is always manufactured, an acceptance of an external image instead of an internal identity . It is known as an "idea l ego," because it is whole and nonfragmented and has no lack or absence . In othe r words, the individual makes up for the union that has been lost by misconceiving th e self as whole and sufficient ; but such an assumption is illusory .





When the awareness of being separate comes, as it must if the individual is t o move from nature to culture, the sense of unity with others and other objects is los t and, along with it, the sense of security that it provided . With the baby desiring a return to that earlier period of oneness with the mother, its needs at this point tur n into demands, specifically demands for attention and love from another that wil l erase the separation that the baby knows ; but such a reunion is not possible . One can never return . When the infant realizes it is not connected to that which serves its needs, its sense of irretrievable loss makes it necessary for language to take the place of wha t is lacking . The Symbolic Order, which overlaps with the Imaginary, introduce s languagesomething a person must enter to become a speaker and thereby designate the self as "I ." By stopping the play and movement of signifiers so that the y can have some stable meaning, language masters the individual and shapes one' s identity as a separate being . In the Symbolic Order everything is separate ; thus, to negotiate it successfully, a person must master the concept of difference, differenc e that makes language possible (that is, we know a word such as light because it i s not the word fight) and difference that makes genders recognizable . According to Lacan, there are biological sexual differences, but gender is cultur ally created. Whereas the Imaginary Order is centered in the mother, the Symboli c Order is ruled by what he called the Law of the Father, because it is the father wh o enforces cultural norms and laws . Because the power of the word and being male ar e associated, the boy child must identify with the father as rule giver, and the girl mus t acknowledge that, as such, the father is her superior . Both male and female experience a symbolic castration, or a loss of wholeness that comes with the acceptance o f society's rules . Lacan calls the ultimate symbol of power the phallus, referring not to a biological organ but to a privileged signifier, the symbol of power that gives meaning to other objects . Neither males nor females can possess the phallus totally, thoug h males have a stronger claim to it . Instead, human beings go through life longing fo r a return to the state of wholeness when we were one with our mother, manifested i n our desire for pleasure and things . But wholeness will always elude us . Not surprisingly, Lacan has met with some criticism about his description of th e Symbolic Order, with its emphasis on the superiority of the father that the girl mus t acknowledge. The positive outcomes of the challenge that his ideas present hav e been the adaptations and extensions of his theories by such feminist critics as Juli a Kristeva, Sandra Gilbert, and Susan Gubar. Some disagreement exists about the nature of the Real Order, partly because it is a difficult concept to grasp and partly because Lacan himself changed his min d about it . In general it can be said that the Real symbolizes what is external to an indi vidual, the physical world that one is not . It is the final phase of psychic development, beyond language, resisting symbolization . In his Seminar XI, Lacan defined the Rea l as "the impossible," because it is unattainable . Consequently, the Real is evidence o f one's lack and loss, creating further fragmentation of the individual . Obviously Lacan's ideas are interesting to the literary critic, because they pro vide more ways of understanding and analyzing characters . A reader can look for

symbolic representations of the Imaginary Order, the Symbolic Order, and the Rea l (or its separation from the other twoits evidence of what they do not possess) t o demonstrate how the text depicts the human being as a fragmented, incomplete being . In "Young Goodman Brown," for example, evidence of the three orders points to lac k and absence that make wholeness impossible . The protagonist longs for the wholeness provided by the Real, but it eludes him . He does not know and can never kno w the true "self," and he resists the acceptance of society's rules, the power of the group. Clearly suffering from a loss that he can never recover, he exemplifies the fragmente d being who is unable to achieve the completeness he desires .
Antirealis m

In addition to changing the way characters are analyzed, Lacan's theories of language, in particular his assertion that language is detached from physical reality, also affect literary analysis . For example, his theories make it difficult to read a narrativ e as being realistic . The traditional assumption that a fictive world exists as a real on e is no longer valid if language is not connected to referents outside of it . Instead, the reader must accept that a narrative is likely to be broken and interrupted . It may , like other signifiers, refer to other narratives .
Jouissanc e

Lacan's ideas are also germane to the work of the critic, because he acknowledge d that literature offers access to the Imaginary Order and a chance to reexperienc e the joy of being whole, as we once were with our mother . The word Lacan used , jouissance, means "enjoyment , " but it also carries a sexual reference ("orgas m" ) that the English word lacks . As Lacan used it, it is essentially phallic, although he admit ted that there is a feminine jouissance .

Once you are accustomed to taking a Freudian, mythological, or Lacanian approach , you will begin to notice meaningful symbols and will pay close attention to drea m sequences as a matter of course . If you are not used to reading from these perspectives, however, you may want to be intentional about noting aspects of a work durin g prewriting that could be significant . If you are interested in using Freudian theory, you can begin by making note s about a selected character, then writing a descriptive paragraph about her . Th e following questions can help to get you started : What do you see as the character's main traits ? By what acts, dialogue, and attitudes are those traits revealed?





What does the narrator reveal about the character ? In the course of the narrative, does the character change? If so, how and why ? Where do you find evidence of the id, superego, and ego at work ? Does the character come to understand something not understood at the outset ? How does the character view him- or herself ? How is he or she viewed by other characters ? Do the two views agree ? What images are associated with the character? What principal symbols enrich your understanding of the characters ? Which symbols are connected with forces that affect the characters ? Does the character have any interior monologues or dreams? If so, what do yo u learn from them about the character that is not revealed by outward behavior o r conversation ? Are there conflicts between what is observable and what is going on inside th e character? Are there any revealing symbols in them ? Are there suggestions that the character's childhood experiences have led t o problems in maturity, such as uncompleted sexual stages or unresolve d dilemmas ? Where do the characters act in ways that are inconsistent with the way they ar e described by the narrator or perceived by other characters ? Who is telling the story, and why does the narrator feel constrained to tell it ? How can you explain a character's irrational behavior'? What causes do you find ? What motivation ? An archetypal approach can start with these questions : What similarities do you find among the characters, situations, and settings of th e text under consideration and those in other works that you have read' ? What commonly encountered archetypes do you recognize' ? Is the narrative like any classic myths you know ? Where do you find evidence of the protagonist's persona? Anima/animus? Shadow' ? Does the protagonist at any point reject some part of his or her personality an d project it onto someone or something else ? Would you describe the protagonist as individuated, as having a realistic and accu rate sense of self' ? You can begin a Lacanian approach by considering the following questions : Where do you recognize the appearance of the Imaginary, Symbolic, and/or Rea l orders ? How do they demonstrate the fragmented nature of the self ? Are there instances where the Imaginary interrupts the Symbolic Order ? Is the character aware of the lack or absence of something significant in the self ? Are there objects that symbolize what is missing or lacking ? Do you find examples of the mirror stage of the developing psyche ? Is the text an antirealist one that subverts traditional storytelling?


When you write an analysis of a work of literature from any of these three form s of psychological criticismFreudian, mythological, or Lacanianyour reader wil l find it helpful if you announce at the outset what your primary focus will be . Becaus e such studies can look at a single character, the relationships among characters, mean ingful symbolism, narrative patterns, or even the life of the author, an indication o f the direction your paper will take makes it easier for others to follow the developmen t of your discussion . Another approach is to comment on similarities and differences between th e work with which you are dealing and other works by the same author. If you have determined that the elements of the poem or story you are analyzing are typical of a given writerfor example, that the conflicts faced by a particular character are similar to those that have been developed in some of the author's other worksnotin g those correspondences in the introduction can help convince the reader that what yo u say is valid . However, if the work under analysis is atypical of what one anticipate s from a given writer, then revealing at the beginning that this work is a departure fro m the expected can garner attention as well . If you have discovered parallels between the text you are writing about an d others that you have read, you may want to mention the similarities you have discovered . If the situations or relationships among the characters have reminded yo u of those found in classic myths, fairy tales, Greek drama, or even more moder n works, mentioning those correspondences will turn your discussion toward a mythi c perspective .
The Body

Because of the number and diversity of topics you have to choose from when doin g psychoanalytic (and related) criticism, there is no formula for the organization of th e body of the paper . There are only suggestions that may help you structure the wa y you report your ideas . As always, you cannot expect your audience to accept your analysis simply a s stated . You will have to prove your case by using tenets of psychological or critica l theory to explain, for example, that a certain character cannot keep a job becaus e he is resistant to authority because he has unresolved issues with his father, or tha t another is projecting an undesirable part of her personality when she blames a goo d friend for provoking a quarrel that she herself began . You do not have to refer to al l the principles explained in this chapter, but you should incorporate all the points tha t help support your position . If you have chosen to take a character as the principal topic of a Freudian analy sis, you may have already discovered what you want to reveal about him when yo u prewrote . If not, it may be necessary to return to those notes to expand and deepe n them so that you eventually arrive at an understanding of some struggle the character





is living through, an epiphany he or she experiences, or the motivation behind som e particular behavior . You will address that understanding in the body of your discussion . You may find the following strategies helpful : Reveal what is happening in the character's unconscious as suggested by images , symbols, or interior monologues . Identify the nature of the character's conflicts ; look for indications of whether he or she has the attitudes of a healthy adult male or female . If not, then the neurosi s needs to be identified and its source examined . Because any changes in the outlook or behavior of a character signal that som e struggle has been resolved, for good or ill, assess their meaning . Examine whether a character operates according to the pleasure principle, th e morality principle, or the reality principle . Explain a character's typical behavior by determining whether the personality i s "balanced" or dominated by the id or the superego . Look carefully at any dreams that are recounted or alluded to . What repressed material are these dreams putting into symbolic form? What are they reall y about ? Probe the meanings of symbols by thinking about them in terms of their maleness and femaleness . Find some particular behavior that a character is fixated on, then trace it to som e need or issue from childhood that went unsatisfied or unresolved . Note any conflicts or events in the author's life that are reflected in the text . Using a mythological approach, you can explore one or several of the following topics : Show how characters follow (or vary from) well-established patterns of behavior or re-create well-known figures from literary historyfor example, from Gree k mythology . Look at similarities and contrasts in the personal conscious and personal unconscious to determine whether they reflect the same desires and impulses or are i n conflict . Locate any instances in which the collective unconscious of a character i s revealed, perhaps through a dream or vision . Identify archetypal images and situations and explain how they work together t o create meaning . Examine instances in which the persona, anima/animus, and shadow of a character are revealed, including instances of rejection and projection . To use Lacan's ideas as the basis of your discussion, you can apply the followin g analytical strategies : Identify the Imaginary, Symbolic, and Real orders in the narrative and explai n the position of a character in relation to each . Note instances where a character's fragmentation or lack is evident .

Locate those occasions on which a character recognizes that he or she is a frag mented being yearning for wholeness, and explain the causes of those occasions . Explain how certain objects symbolize that which is lacking in a character's life . Note those occasions on which the unconscious controls and shapes a character . Point out antirealistic elements of a narrative, noting what those elements sugges t about the inaccessibility of a whole, integrated self . Identify any mirror-stage experiences and explain how they demonstrate Lacan' s ideas about the developing psyche . The Conclusio n The psychological analysis is one occasion in which a reader may welcome a summary conclusion . Because the discussion is likely to have covered some unusua l ground and used some unusual terminology (in terms of literary criticism), a brie f reiteration of the major points followed by a general conclusion may be in order . Take care not simply to say everything again but to assume a more global view, lookin g at the analysis as a whole . If you discussed multiple points, for example, you wil l probably need to rename them and tie them all together, showing how they extend and reinforce one another. If you focused on only one topic, such as character o r imagery, then a simple reiteration of the themes that grew out of what you foun d should suffice .


Anima/animus The life force within an individual . It is both life itself and the creator o f , life. In the male, it is made up of female elements of the self (the anima), and in the female d . It belongs to the personal an it is composed of the male elements of the self (the animus) collective unconscious . n Archetypes Inherited ideas or ways of thinking generated by the experiences of the huma , . They are universal and recurring images race that exist in the unconscious of an individual patterns, or motifs representing typical human experience that often appear in literature, art , fairy tales, myths, dreams, and rituals . They unite the conscious and the unconscious, help ing to make an individual whole . Collective unconscious The inherited collective experience of the human race . . Condensation The use of a single word or image in a dream to articulate two references . Displacement Moving one's feelings for a particular person to an object related to him or her e Ego In Freudian terms, the part of the psyche that mediates between the inner self and th y . As such, the ego helps regulate the id by postponing the id's urges or b external world diverting them into socially acceptable actions . . It Id An unconscious part of the psyche that is the source of psychic energy and desires operates for the sole purpose of finding pleasure through gratification of its instinctua l needs .





Imaginary Order A term used by Jacques Lacan to refer to the psychic stage during whic h the infant begins to recognize its separateness from other objects and to develop a sens e of self. Individuation Successful discovery, acceptance, and integration of one's own shadow , anima/animus . and persona . It is a psychological maturation . Jouissance Jacques Lacan's term for the sense of being whole . It means enjoyment and carries a sexual reference . Libido The instinctual energies and desires that are derived from the id. Mirror stage A term used by Jacques Lacan to refer to an event that occurs near th e end of the Imaginary Order, involving an infant seeing him- or herself in a mirror an d thereby starting to become aware of him- or herself as a being that is separate from th e mother. Monomyth Northrop Frye's term for literature, composed of four mythoi . Mythoi Four narrative patterns that, according to Northrop Frye, exhibit the structural principles of the various genres . He associated each with a season of the year. Persona Carl Jung's term for the social part of an individual's personality . It is the being tha t other people know as one's self. Personal conscious A state of awareness of the present moment . Personal unconscious A storehouse of past personal experience no longer extant in th e personal conscious . Phallic symbol A masculine symbol . It is recognizable because its length exceeds it s diameter. Phallus A term used by Jacques Lacan that refers to a privileged signifier, the symbol o f power that gives meaning to other objects . Psychobiography The use of a psychoanalytic approach to understand a writer . Real Order A term used by Jacques Lacan to refer to the physical world beyond the indi vidual, language, or representation ; in it, there is no loss, lack, or absence . Most reader s understand the Real to be the final phase of psychic development, which is unattainable . Shadow Carl Jung's term for the dark, unattractive aspects of the self . An individual' s impulse is to reject the shadow and project it onto someone or something else . Sign The combination of a signifier and a signified . Signified The concept or meaning indicated by a signifier. Signifier A conventional sound, utterance, or written mark . Superego The part of the psyche that provides discipline and restraint by forcing unacceptable desires back into the unconscious . It is formed early on by parents and later by socia l institutions and other models . Symbolic Order A term used by Jacques Lacan to refer to the psychic stage in which a n individual learns language and in which language shapes his or her identity . Yonic symbol A feminine symbol . It is recognizable because it is concavefor example , a bowl or a cave .

Campbell, Joseph . The Hero with a Thousand Faces . Princeton, NJ : Princeton UP, 2004 . Felman, Shoshana . Jacques Lacan and the Adventure of Insight: Psychoanalysis in Contemporary Culture. Cambridge : Harvard University Press, 1987 . Fiedler. Leslie . Love and Death in the American Novel . Normal . IL : Dalkey Archive Press, 1997 . Frazer, Sir James . The Golden Bough. New York : Oxford UP, 1998 . Freud, Sigmund . introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis . Trans . Joan Riviere . London : Heron Books, 1970 . . The Interpretation of Dreams . Trans . A . A . Brill . Mineola, NY : Dover. 2006 . Frye, Northrop . Anatomy of Criticism : Four Essays. Toronto : Univ . of Toronto Press, 2006 . Hoffman, Frederick J. Freudianism and the Literary Mind. Westport, CT : Greenwood Press . 1977 . Holland, Norman . The Dynamics of Literary Response . New York : Columbia UP, 1989 . Jung . Carl . The Integration of the Personality. Trans . Stanley Dell . New York: Farrar an d Rinehart, 1939 . . "Psychology and Literature ." In Modern Man in Search of a Soul, trans . W. S . Del l and Cary F. Baynes, pp . 175-199 . New York: Harcourt, 1955 . . The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious . Trans . R . F. C . Hull . Princeton . NJ : Princeton UP, 1980. Lesser, Simon O . Fiction and the Unconscious . Boston : Beacon Press, 1957 . Murray . Gilbert . The Classical Tradition in Poetry . New York : Russell and Russell, 1968 . Phillips, William, ed . Art and Psychoanalysis . New York : World Publishing, 1963 . Trilling, Lionel. Freud and the Crisis of Our Culture. Boston : Beacon Press, 1955 . Wheelwright, Philip . Metaphor and Reality. Bloomington : Indiana UP, 1962 . Winnicott . D . W. Playing and Reality. New York : Tavistock, 1980 . Wright, Elizabeth . Psychoanalytic Criticism : Theory in Practice. New York : Methuen, 1984 .

CENGAGENOW Web sites devoted to some of the topics covered in this chapter shoul d

he used with particular caution . Although some can be helpful, many sites that ar e connected to philosophical, psychological . and religious slants, both traditional an d nontraditional, are not . Some take extreme positions of belief . In particular, the Web surfer looking for information on Carl Jung, archetypes, and myths must be awar e that a search can lead to so many different topics that the initial quest can get lost . For these reasons, it is recommended, as before, that you begin by consulting academic . cengage .com/eng/dobie/theoryintopractice2e for creditable online information .


Water, Sun, Moon, Stars, Heroic Spirit, in Tennyson's "Ulysses " : A Mythological Analysi s Tiffany N . Spee r In the poem "Ulysses," Alfred, Lord Tennyson turned to one of the classic heroes o f literature to explore the nature of the heroic spirit as it approaches death . Throughout th e poem, the aging king remembers all that he has achieved . He realizes that he is no longer physi cally capable of performing such great acts, but that his heroic virtue remains . Though age has

Benvenuto, Bice, and Roger Kennedy . The Works of Jacques Lacan : An Introduction. New York: St . Martin's Press, 1986 . Bergler, Edmund . The Writer and Psychoanalysis. Madison, CT : International Universitie s Press, 1991 . Bodkin, Maud . Archetypal Patterns in Poetry. New York : AMS Press, 1978 .





conquered his body, he insists that his triumphant spirit will not rest . The poem is paradoxica l because the hero continually compares the deterioration of his physical capabilities with th e rekindling of his heroic heart and his will to survive . Just as its speaker is an archetypal figure, s o are the poem's descriptions of life and death often allusions to universal symbols and archetypes . In the first few lines of the poem, Ulysses introduces the topic of debate : acceptanc e of age and retirement without settling for submission . He signals his refusal to stop livin g when he says, "I will drain / Life to the lees ." This statement, the intense rejection of death , the image of drinking the full cup of tea, or drinking life "down to the last drop" is a recur ring idea in this poem . Perhaps Ulysses's most significant instance of acceptance in the poe m comes when he pauses and states, "I am become a name ." He realizes that his name alon e will live on in glory because of the reputation that he made from years of leading others . It is in this first proclamation of identity that Jungian archetypes of self are introduced . He is shadow, anima, and persona combined to make a trinity of personalities that hove r around acceptance of what is to come . Through this poem, Ulysses shows all three parts o f his personalitythe weak, the realistic, and the strong . In fact, the poem itself becomes a trilogy of archetypes combined to suggest Ulysses's image of himself . The idea of becoming an "idle king," weary from a life of glorious reign, is unacceptabl e to Ulysses . He refuses to accept that because he is aging, he will no longer roam the worl d as he did as a young hero . He says, "How dull it is to pause, to make an end, / To rus t unburnished, not to shine in use!" Words such as dull, end, rust, barren, aged, and dim indicate a sense of death and decay . It is in these words that Ulysses uncovers the "shadow " that he is trying to conquer. He is aware that it exists, but because he prefers not to live i t out in full, he attempts to continue on with life as he did before . Second, Ulysses's "anima," his sense of inevitable death, controls all that he does . Afte r stating that he will always be a valiant warrior and that "every hour is saved / From that eterna l silence," Ulysses begins to reflect on the possibility of passing down his reign to his son . He con tradicts himself slowly as he comments on Telemachus's abilities as a leader and begins to fac e the fact that he, Ulysses, will soon die . At this transition, death is personified as a "vessel, " a feminine object that holds his fate . She is his anima . He seems to whisper, "There lies th e port; the vessel puffs her sail ; / There gloom the dark, broad seas ." Because Ulysses can see that he will soon die, he is revived in the final portion of the poem . Ironically, the vision of deat h is the "life force" that causes him to remember that he does not have to die in spirit. Once again, Ulysses realizes that death does not have to take hold of his heart as it doe s his body. He says optimistically, "Old age hath yet his honour and his toil ." His persona, or th e mask that he wears for the sake of others, is the attitude that he shows at the end of the poem. He admits that death is drawing near, but he also says that it is never too late to live life t o the fullest. He says, "[F]or my purpose holds / To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths / Of al l the western stars, until I die ." His public stance is a positive one that encourages his people t o believe that no matter what happens to their bodies, their spirits and souls will never age .

Not only does this poem contain the Jungian trinity of archetypes of the self, but it als o contains other physical symbols that support its structure . There is a repetition of water images , of sailing away "beyond the sunset," and "on shore, and when / Thro' scudding drifts the rain y Hyades / Vext the dim sea ." These references to water indicate the passing of time, as the y wash away what was old while the new things come to surface . It is always the water or shi p that takes Ulysses away when he speaks of death ; therefore, water indicates his eternal fate . I n the beginning of the poem, he speaks of being an idle king "among these barren crags," suggest ing that his life now is without water, dying, desolate, or useless . Without water, he cannot live, just as without duty and adventure, he refuses to live . But it is the water that continually sail s him off to death . The duty, or the water of his life, is the very thing that gives him life . Ulysses also makes many references to the elements of the sky . He mentions rain, sun , stars, moon, and sunsets, all of which are in reference to light in some kind of darkness . First, he says, "[A]nd vile it were / For some three suns to store and hoard myself, / An d this gray spirit yearning in desire / To follow knowledge like a sinking star ." Hiding behin d the sun, and not following his dreams or pursuing further knowledge are repugnant to him . Just as stars fall, his knowledge will also fall from his memory . He also uses the image "Th e long day wanes ; the slow moon climbs" to indicate the approach of death . Each referenc e to elements of the sky is a description of Ulysses' s inevitable end, his final adventure . Tennyson used many mythological elements in his approach to the topic of death i n "Ulysses ." Not only does the voice of Ulysses echo the three parts of the Jungian shadow , anima, and persona, but it also uses references to death as water and sky . Ulysses argues with himself that despite age and fate, the truly heroic spirit never dies . It is through thes e universal symbols that Tennyson is able to completely capture the undying soul of a dyin g hero . The memory of him will always be present, just like the water, sun, moon, and stars .

Mama Mary and Mother Medusa : A Magic Carpet Ride Through James' s Psychical Landscape in Ernest Gaines's "The Sky Is Gray " Rhonda D . Robiso n "It takes no psychoanalytical finesse, but only simple observation of childhood to recognize that in the history of every human being language originates in the infantile life of play, pleasure, and love that centers round the mother ; over this primary function i s built the secondary function of organizing human energy in socially productive work . " Norman O . Brown The "sky is gray," the "wind is pink," and the "grass is black"In Ernest Gaines's short story , "The Sky Is Gray," these phrases create a dreamscape, that when viewed through a Freudian , Lacanian, Jungian, and object relations lens, demonstrates how the text's poetic qualities revea l universal psychical motivations related to Oedipal desire . Unconscious processes relevant to al l human relationships manifest in textual analysis, yet each parent/child dynamic is unique . The





story of the unconscious relationship between Gaines's principal characters, Octavia and James , is one of every child's struggle with Oedipal conflict, and his internalization of the phallic mothe r demonstrates one of many possibilities for the child's unconscious re-creation of mother-assymbol . The phallic mother is a fantasy-image, or "imago," represented in the child's psyche a s an amalgamation of mother and father figures . She manifests as a Mary/Medusa archetype i n this story, where we find James desiring Mary, the "good mother," and fearing Medusa, the evi l mother-as-castrating-father. An examination of James's internalization of Octavia as the spli t Mary/Medusa archetype further demonstrates how libido, energy sprung from desire, fuels life processes, in general, and how libido can be sublimated, or transformed, into positive choice s and actions that benefit the individual and the collective (larger groups in which the individua l constitutes one part of a wholei .e., family, society, and humankind) .

me and her, I know what she's thinking all the time ." James expresses an underlying wis h to possess the mother, revealing a desire to return to the symbiotic stage when the child' s reality consists of "just me and her ." James "knows what she's thinking" because in th e unconscious infantile fantasy, child and mother are psychically bound . A process of separation continues throughout infancy, as the child goes through the psychosexual stages o f mental development . The family romance climaxes at the Oedipal phase, when, at its conclusion, the Lacanian child enters the Symbolic Order, or society, which is ruled by "th e Law of the Father." Once the Oedipal conflict has been resolved, the Freudian child enter s the latent phase, an asexual period, which constitutes "a pause in the evolution of sexuality" (LaPlanche 134), a gap within which one progresses to autonomy . It is important to not e that the individual remains unconsciously attached to the mother/infant relationship through out life ; thus, autonomy includes the idea of the internalized mother-as-self . The infant's process of separation from the mother, according to D . W. Winnicott, an object relations analyst, finds the child adopting its first "not-me" possessionsom e object, like a teddy bear, or some phenomenon, such as hair-twirlingas a mother substitute (3) . The transitional object, symbolically charged with internalizations related t o the mother and child's unique relationship, eases the anxiety of separation, and the transitional object is later replaced by an object-substitute, then another, and another, and so on , so that all relationships with "other" can be traced back to the mother/child duo . James' s handkerchief can be viewed as symbolic of the transitional object in this story . James begins his narration at a point of transition, while he and his mother await the bus to Bayonne : "Go'n be coming in a few minutes . Coming round that bend down there full speed . And I' m go'n get out my handkerchief and wave it down, and we gon'n get on it and go ." The hand kerchief, when viewed as the original transitional object, expresses the child's playful wis h to whisk his mother away on a magic carpet ride . The child's fantasy to possess the mothe r is revealed in this instance when one reads the "it" he is going to "wave down," and tha t they are going to "get on," as the handkerchief instead of the bus (which is not named unti l the paragraph's final sentence) . Gaines's employment of poetic ambiguity in his choice of th e pronoun "it" allows the underlying fantasy to emerge . James will lower the hankie, allowing his mother to hop aboard ; then off they'll float to their own magic paradise, where nothin g and no "other," or "father," can compete for her love . James is everyboy in the Oedipal sense, expressing the wish to be "the man," replac e the father, and possess the mother, which he expresses both explicitly, when he repeatedl y informs the reader of how he "looks at" and "loves" his mama, and implicitly, in terms o f unconscious symbolism, which includes the duality of the phallic mother, or what psychoanalyst Melanie Klein termed the "combined parent" (LaPlanche and Pontalis 312) . The phalli c mother is an imago, an image consolidated in the child's psyche, based on his introjection o f impressions of the parent(s), in which the dominant mother embodies elements of both the

The "Sky Is Gray" : A Psyche in Proces s The human infant is born a language-being, in constant dialectic, or "conversation," with th e mother. Language is more than "words" when we consider that communication involves al l the senses . Meaning is derived from a multiplicity of inputs to the sensory system that tak e on symbolic form . Symbolic languageand hence, meaningincludes both collective an d individual associations . The child's impressions of what he introjectsthat is, the externa l objects the child internalizes (Grosskurth 100)take the form of an imago, a term coine d by Carl Jung to signify the child's perception of "other" (LaPlanche and Ponatlis 21 I) . Th e imago is based on psychical impressions ; thus, the imago, as a product of imagination, i s processed in "perceptual" reality and is not necessarily based on actual events . Sigmun d Freud claimed that unconscious processes related to the psychosexual stages of development, like the Oedipus complex and castration anxiety, are universal and that such processes are reflected in creative works . Jung believed that mythological archetypes found i n literature parallel archetypes housed in the psyche . Jacques Lacan's theory includes the ide a that the unconscious is structured like a language, and that language belongs to what h e calls the Symbolic Order. Object relations theory focuses on process and provides a "transitional space" for examining the relationship between mother and chil d Freud introduced the idea of infantile sexuality ("Three Essays" 259)that is, tha t human mental life, structured in infancy, is influenced by the child's transition through th e psychosexual stages of development . The infant, intimately connected to its instinctua l nature, reacts and explores the world according to its sensory system . In the child's unintegrated mind, mother and self share a symbiotic relationship, which corresponds to the ora l stage of development when the infant perceives himself and his mother as a singl e unit . Gaines's eight-year-old narrator, James, references the oral/symbiotic phase when h e says, "I look at my mama and I know what she's thinking. I been with Mama so much, just




nurturing mother and the castrating father . From a Jungian perspective, the archetype of th e phallic mother, or animus (Jung 25), is deeply consolidated in our collective memory . On e archetype representative of the phallic mother is Medusa, a gorgon, or feminine monste r from Greek mythology, whom Freud viewed as "the terror of castration" (Freud, " Medusa " 273) because she turns men, not women, to stonean idea that triggers the boy's castration anxiety (Paglia 47) .

keyed to the symbiotic/oral stage of development in infancy, which is both a sadistic an d passive stage . The child "takes in" the world through its sensory system during the ora l phase, primarily sucking milk from the mother's breast, from which the child's perceptio n of the "good mother" is introjected . Later in the oral phase, the infant develops aggressiv e tendencies toward the mother, as demonstrated when the baby bites the mother's nippl e during feeding. This finds the child introjecting a "bad mother" image (Klein 5), resultin g in psychical ambivalencethe child both loves and hates the mother, and his underlyin g wish in the oral stage is to incorporate the mother's body, "making them a part of himself " (Holland Dynamics 36-37) . James's internalization of the phallic mother at the oral stag e is further demonstrated by the fact that the cows (feminine) ejaculate smoke from thei r noses, a phallic reference . "I look at my mama and I love my mama," James informs the reader in the story's opening, "and I want to put my arm around her and tell her . But I'm not supposed to d o that ." Conflict is evident in James's affection for his mother in this statement, but it can als o be detected in his shift to second person in the succeeding dialogue : "She say that's weakness and that's crybaby stuff, and she don't want no crybaby round her. She don't wan t you to be scared either [italics added] ." James displaces castration anxiety related to fea r of the phallic mother, from self, where the ego could be damaged, to "other""you," th e invisible reader who poses no threat to his ego . Another instance of displacement occur s in James's next statement, when he shifts the threat of the phallic mother onto his littl e brother: "'Cause Ty's scared of ghosts and she's always whipping him ." Love is "combat, " a "wrestling with ghosts" (Paglia I4), who represent condensed images of our past internalizations of experiences and impressions of our parents . After this double displacement, James admits, "I'm scared of the dark too, but I make 'tend I ain't . " The dark, symbolizing unconscious processes, is the phallic mother's abyss, home to her, who, in the child's mind , both loves and simultaneously seeks to destroy him . James further explains that the reaso n he pretends courage is because he is "the oldest" and must "set a good sample for th e others ." James serves as a "sample" of the universal Oedipal complex and its resulting castration anxiety, which he displaces onto the reader, then Ty, and back to self, "ty"ing he an d his brother, and all other boys, to universal fear of the castrating father . Interestingly, fears related to castration anxiety are displaced in this story, because Octavia, as the Medus a archetype, is the castrator James fears . James, like the mythical Perseus, slayer of Medusa, embarks on his own psychical battl e with the "castrating mother" in an effort to resolve Oedipal conflict and enter the Lacania n Symbolic Order, the realm of language and culture . Medusa's head full of phallic snakes an d her ability to fossilize men, even after she is decapitated, clearly conveys that she possesse s the phallic power and is to be feared . This mythological reference, psychologically symboli c of castration anxiety in the child (Medusa's head represents the castrated penis), locates the

The "Wind Is Pink" : Libido and the Phallic-Mother Imag e Octavia is paradigmatic of the phallic mother . Her name, whose Latin origins suggest thing s that come in "eight," reminds one of a spider (eight legs) and an octopus (eight tentacles) . It is also interesting to note that James is eight years old, which is another of the story' s subverted symbols, intimately connecting him to Octavia as the Medusa archetype . One instance that clearly demonstrates Octavia's masculine role is the caf scene in Bayonne , when a man asks her to dance, and she throws him against the wall : "The little man jumps up off the floor and starts toward my mama . 'Fore you know it, Mama done sprung open her knife and she's waiting for him ." The mother possesses the phallic power, represente d by the knife in this sceneshe is the original castrator in James's psychical landscape . When James cannot bring himself to kill a redbird as his mother demands, she grows angr y with him, grabs the fork, and stabs the bird "right in the neck ." Octavia then taunts th e child by holding the dead bird in front of him . Octavia, the mad Medusa, a sadistic castrator, has killed James's "bird ." She has destroyed his hopes for complete possession of her , because she maintains ownership of the symbolic phallus . Unconscious symbolism related to the Medusa archetype, or phallic mother, firs t occurs when James provides the reader with a description of the physical landscape, whic h is also a symbolic description of James's psychical landscape . Furthermore, this descriptive vignette serves as a synopsis of the story's psychological framework: It's a long old road, and far's you can see you don't see nothing but gravel . You got dry weeds on both sides, and you got trees on both sides, and fences on both sides, too . And you got cows in the pastures and they standing close together . And when we was comin g out here to catch the bus I seen the smoke coming out of the cows' noses . James describes the mental journey, connected to the past and headed for the future, wit h nothing but psychological "gravel" in sight . The parted weeds are a yonic symbol, representing James's mother, whereas the phallic trees represent the fatherinterestingly, th e weeds and trees are on "both sides," an indicator that feminine and masculine element s are integrated as single symbols in the story. James's description of the cows, which ar e symbolically connected to the mother's breast (milk), are, as in the handkerchief fantasy,





root of anxiety in the tension created between the child's fantasy of the sadistic, or "bad " mother, and the nurturing, or "good" mother . The tension between any opposing pair creates "drive." The drive, or tension, related to James' relationship with the split mother , whose phallic "presence" is highlighted by the "absent" or "lacking" father, manifests a s castration anxiety. Castration anxiety, or the tension created between presence and absence related t o the story's "good mother/bad mother" theme, is realized in Gaines's textual inclusion, ye t exclusion, of the Hail Mary prayer and Edgar Allan Poe's poem "Annabel Lee ." Prayer an d poem are referenced in the text, thus their "presence" is critical to interpretation ; just a s important, the prayer and poem's words are "absent" in the story, indicative of significant , yet subverted/feminine/poetic textual, aspects . Examination of the poem and prayer's dic tion, when drawn in from outside the story space, says much about James's struggle wit h castration anxiety, which is located in the phallic mother's "presence," juxtaposed wit h the story's "absent-father" theme . The Hail Mary prayer is introduced into the story whe n Monsieur Bayonne instructs James to recite a Catholic prayer while he prays over James' s sore tooth. James says the only Catholic prayer he knows : Hail Mary, full of grace ! The Lord is with thee , blessed art thou among women, and blesse d is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus . Holy Mary, Mother of God , pray for us sinners, now and at th e hour of our death. Amen . (254) The Mystic Rose of Mary, as the symbolic figure who is "hailed" in this prayer, is Octavi a dressed in the imaginary red coat James dreams of buying her "when cotton come ." Mary is the "reverse image" of the gorgon, Medusa (Paglia 47), as represented by Octavia in th e "black coat" James "ain't go'n get" for her . Associated with Mary is the symbolic red rose , which is further associated with James's desire for the "good mother," while his refusal t o purchase the black coat for Octavia is a rejection of Medusa, the evil, or dark mother . As Medusa's opposite, Mary is unconsciously incited as the "good mother" when James recite s the prayer, suggesting his desire for Octavia's love . From a psychoanalytical viewpoint , within the context of this story, Jesus can be viewed as symbolic of every child's health y identification with the "good mother," which depends on those aspects of her split imag e that one has internalized as Self. James's narcissistic fantasy includes the idea that he is th e "blessed fruit" of Octavia's womb, who, like Jesus, may someday be touted as a savior of hi s people . This is indicated within the story space in James's identification with the intellectual

in the dentist's waiting room . When James begs the "good mother" to pray for him an d other boys (sinners because they "aren't supposed to" love their mamas), he is appealin g to the "good mother" for protection from the "bad," or "castrating" mother, Medusa, wh o slithers out from the text's dreamscape as the foreboding and mysterious goddess to who m the "sinners" succumb at that "hour of death," which symbolically signals castration and th e subsequent impossibility of "union" between boy and mother. Castration anxiety, such a s that attached to James's recollection of the Hail Mary prayer, precedes the child's resolution of the Oedipus complex, which is resolved upon his entrance into the Symbolic Order , when the "Law of the Father," including the incest taboo, causes the child to sublimate hi s desires . James's tooth pain subsides when he recites the Hail Mary, because the child expe riences pleasure in his imago of the "good mother," which reduces "unpleasure" associate d with the "bad mother." The resolution of James's conflict with the internalized Mary an d Medusa archetypes is implied in the shift from "womb to tomb," when Poe's "Annabel Lee " is referenced . "Annabel Lee," like the Hail Mary prayer, is an absent text with a powerful presence in the story . James feels certain his teacher, Miss Walker, a mother-substitute , will make him recite the poem when he returns to school, because "[t]hat woma n don't never forget nothing ." James's anxiety is manifested in the idea that he neve r actually recites the poem within the story spacehe merely "worries" about recitin g it. The poem's content arouses repressed emotions related to castration anxiety an d the boy's loss of Mother as his love-object . Miss Walker "never forgets," representin g that aspect of unconscious life, repetition compulsion, which causes both a remembering and forgetting . Its appearance here, as a triple negative (woman do not neve r forget nothing), highlights female lack, and thus male fear . Woman cannot "forget nothing," because, in the Freudian sense, she has nothing (no penis) . The threat to hi s own penis ensures that the castration theme will repeat itself in James's life again an d again . In Poe's poem, the narrator is in love with a maiden who "live[s] with no othe r thought / Than to love and be loved by [him]" (lines 3-5) . The love between Annabe l Lee and Poe's narrator is presented as a child's fantasy, in which "She was a child an d [he] was a child" [italics Poe], with a love so intense, even "the winged seraphs o f Heaven / Coveted [their love]" (lines 7-12) . A "wind" comes and "chills and kills " Annabel Lee, and her "high-born kinsmen" come and take her away from the narrato r (lines 15-18) . The love relationship between Poe's narrator and Annabel Lee parallels the childlike fantasy in which James imagines himself and his mother on that magi c hankie ride to symbiotic bliss . Annabel Lee's death symbolizes the child's realizatio n that the fantasy cannot be actualized, and the relationship with the mother is trans formed . The fantasy "dies ." As the poem's narrator notes, however, nothing can ever


completely sever the love between them (mother and son), and the end of the poe m finds the narrator lying next to Annabel Lee's corpse : For the moon never beams without bringing me dream s Of the beautiful Annabel Lee ; And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eye s Of the beautiful Annabel Lee : And so all the night-tide, I lie down by the sid e Of my darling, my darling, my life and my brid e In her sepulchre there by the sea In her tomb by the side of the sea (lines 3441 ) The Freudian child forever mourns the loss of the mother's "complete" love, and he live s in constant search for other(s) and alternate ways to fill the gap, symbolized outside th e story space in "The Sky Is Gray" by the impending gap the missing tooth will leave . James's lack, represented by the perceived missing tooth, is psychically "filled" by Mama, the "goo d mother," who takes James to the dentist, and by Octavia, the "bad mother," who leads hi m to the castrator . The "Grass Is Black" : Resolution of the Oedipus Comple x The plot of Gaines's story is fueled by the Oedipal conflict, that is, the narrative is structure d around James's "bad tooth" and his visit to the dentist . Freud claimed that dreams abou t pulling teeth (phallic symbols) are expressions of castration anxiety (Freud, Interpretation 422) . Importantly, we never meet the dentist, who serves as a representation of the castrating fatherboth father and dentist are absent, representing lack, the feminine threat in th e castration theme, and the fact that physical castration is only a perceived threat . Absence, as a theme in the story, is further suggested when James and his mother enter Helena an d Alnest's home and James notes that there is "somebody" in the bedroom, " laying 'cross th e bed," but the only visible part of the person is "one of his feet ." The only visible part of Alnes t is his foot, a phallic symbol of the castrated penis, that which the boy fears, as well as th e Lacanian objet petite a (that which the boy desires but that is unattainable : an adult penis, by which he imagines he can possess the mother) . The absence of the man but presence of the part-object in this vignette highlights the passive father, represented by Alnest, who neve r gets out of bed, as well as the desired objectthe phallus . Alnest, despite his passivity, i s the only absent father figure with a "voice" in the story, which gives him phallic power, particularly in Lacanian theory, where language resides in the symbolic/patriarchal realm . Alnest only speaks directly to James and his mother as they are leaving for the dentist (castration ) appointment " Goodbye both mother and son," he calls out to them, "And may God be wit h you ." " Goodbye mother-and-son-as-one ; may the Lacanian Law of the Father be wit h you!" could be a psychoanalytic rendering of that statement, which is to say that resolution

of the castration complex in the child (Freud, "Anxiety" 77779) is imminenthis fantasy o f complete union with the mother is crushed, and he must now enter society and repress th e symbiotic fantasy . Because James never sees the dentist in this story, we are left at the point where his castration anxiety and the threat to his ego persists, that part of the Oedipal conflict where the child builds up defenses as protection, represented in James's description o f "fences on both sides" of the road in his landscape description . Defenses refer to psychical mechanisms for protecting the ego from potentially damagin g unconscious information (LaPlanche and Pontalis 104) . The fences in James's description of th e countryside parallel the defenses of James's mental landscape . Fences block access and provid e protection from intruders . It is no different with psychical "fences" ; defenses are develope d to protect one's identity and ensure one's survival . James's resolution of the Oedipal conflic t includes the unconscious construction of at least one potential defense"intellectualism," which is a mechanism the ego can employ to defend itself from primitive desires related t o the Oedipal conflict and the incest taboo . Intellectualism is a defense related to the oral stag e of development ; one's "thirst" for taking in knowledge parallels the infant's desire for sucking milk from the mother ' s breast . When James observes the boy who "looks like a teacher " and outsmarts the preacher in the dentist's waiting room, he identifies with the intellectua l young man, whose message, "Question everything, " nullifies the preacher 's "question nothing" diatribe . James is impressed when the intellectual employs passivity to his advantage ; b y not reacting to the preacher's anger, even after the preacher socks him on both cheeks, th e intellectual 's behavior suggests that language and education are more powerful than physica l force . Both James and the intellectual represent a fixation in the masochistic (passive)/sadisti c (aggressive) oral phase of psychical development, introjection of the phallic mother imago, an d a mechanism for utilizing the imago . "When I grow up, I want to be just like him," James tell s s us . "I want clothes like that and I want keep a book with me, too ." James, overpowered by hi own dominant "other," Octavia, locates a potential solution for his own Oedipal conflict in hi s identification with the intellectual . James's resolution of the Oedipus complex lies outside th e story space, but a healthy resolution is implied . It is no coincidence that the Oedipus complex derives its title from a literary work , because Freud understood that universal unconscious processes are manifest in both th e spoken and the written word . James ' s journey begins in transition, waiting for the bus t o Bayonne ; he and his mother's journey, along with the story's title ("Gray, " because it represents all between the black/white dichotomy), suggests transitional processes related to th e , child's growing independence from the mother . The process of defining an independent Self which reaches a climactic point in the Oedipal conflict, is central to James's "journey " i n "The Sky Is Gray" and parallels every child's path to adulthood . Central to the dream text, or underlying symbolic meaning, in this specific rendering of the Oedipus comple x is a Mary/Medusa archetype . When the dream-text's unconscious elements are unveiled,





Mary emerges as symbolic of the "good mother" whom James worships, whereas Medusa rep resents the child's wish to gain the mother's phallic power, which can only be accomplishe d through the construction of appropriate psychic defenses that find desire sublimated t o healthier outlets . The intellectual boy's references to societal injustices suffered by Africa n Americans, the white majority that perpetuates those injustices, the passivity of African Americans who allow their subversion in society by conforming and refusing to take appropriate action, and James's identification with the intellectual indicate not only that Jame s may employ intellectualism as a defense to overcome his own Oedipal issues with the sadistic mother, but also that in the future he can affect injustices related to the master/slav e dichotomy overall . The "sky is gray," "the wind is pink," and "the grass is black" in Gaines's short stor y symbolically suggest three themes central to James's development as an autonomous self. The sky, symbolic of the mind, suggests that James is a child in process (as suggested b y the color "gray"), working his way through the psychosexual stages of mental developmen t toward autonomy . The pink wind, used as a language example by the intellectual to demonstrate the deceptive nature of language, can also be read as representative of James's libido , symbolized by the "wind" (libido is that which "drives" us and spurs us to action) . James's libido is driven by his relationship with Octavia, whose affect is symbolized by the feminin e color, pink. One reason the "grass is black" in the story is because it reflects James's identification with his African American heritage . The "black grass" suggests that he is grounded / rooted in African American culture and that, like the intellectual, his libido can be sublimated into endeavors that lead to positive change . Multitudinous poetic or subverted elements of the text in "The Sky Is Gray" reveal Octavia and James's journey as both a physica l undertaking and a psychical adventure that finds the reader aboard that carpet's magic rid e through the gray skies and pink winds of Oedipal conflict, toward resolution, where th e heroic James engages Mother Medusa for the love of Mama Mary and the discovery of Sel f and Other . Works Cite d Freud, Sigmund . "Lecture XXV : Anxiety. " Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis . Trans . James Strachey. New York : W. W. Norton, 1966 . 487-511 . . The Interpretation of Dreams . New York : Basic Books, 1998 . "Medusa's Head ." The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Trans . James Strachey, Anna Freud, Alix Strachey, and Alan Tyson . London : Hogarth Press, 1964 . 18 : 273-74. . "Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality ." Freud: A Life for Our Time . Ed. Peter Gay. New York : W. W. Norton, 1988 . Grosskurth, Phyllis. Melanie Klein: Her World and Her Work. Cambridge : Harvard UP, 1987 .

"Hail Mary." The Catholic Encyclopedia . Rev . ed . 1987 . Holland, Norman . The Dynamics of Literary Response . New York: Columbia UP, 1989 . Klein, Melanie . Our Adult World. Great Britain : Pitman, 1963 . LaPlanche, J ., and J . B . Pontalis . The Language of Psychoanalysis . Trans. Donald Nicholson Smith . New York : Norton, 1973 . Paglia, Camille . Sexual Personae . New York : Vintage Books, 1990 . Poe, Edgar Allan . "Annabel Lee ." Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. 6th ed . Ed . Edgar V. Roberts and Henry E . Jacobs . Upper Saddle River : Prentice Hall, 2001 . 869 . Winnicott, D. W. Playing and Reality . London : Tavistock, 1971 .