On Freud

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Psychoanalysis can be used in many ways to critique literature and other texts. Any text can be psychoanalysed as a linguistic whole, or subdivided into smaller segments, such as the genre, the authorial psychoanalysis, or used to interpret the psyche of the characters. The “unwritten text” can be psychoanalysed as well, by using a more Structuralist approach and reading between the lines, while noticing the text’s patterns, dyads, and symbols. Psychoanalysis of themes in fairy tales can lead to surprising and often not child appropriate interpretations of children’s literature. Although, Freudian psychoanalysis is a helpful tool in obtaining an added perspective, it is dubitable, as there is no way of proving or disproving the unconscious. It should not be considered as the only mode for reading texts, but rather as one of many critical theory approaches, because psychoanalysis is an interpretation, a subjective plethora of meanings. However, psychoanalysis can help critics to broaden their viewpoint, and deduce grains of “Truth” from the analysis. Author, themes, and characters will be analyzed through the Freudian lens, to illustrate that texts can have many meanings, and can be viewed as a subconscious representation of societal values, repressed desires, and displacements. Authorial analysis can bring to the surface unconscious feelings and thoughts of an author. A prevalent theme in many fairy tales is the absence of mothers, and the evil step-mother substitute. Bambi, The Little Mermaid, Pinocchio, are all part of a long list of characters who lacked a mother and the loving, secure relationship that she could provide. Taking a closer look at the animator Walt Disney, for example, can highlight how an absence of mothers... ... middle of paper ... ...hough, appearing uncomplex, children’s literature has mature themes and provides a deeper understanding of the workings of the mind. “Freud approached the fairy tale much as he approached dreams: as symptomatic expressions of wish fulfillment . . . The fairy tale, for Freud, was not a complex form, though it afforded insight into complex minds” (Kidd 5). Thus, a seemingly straightforward children’s story can be unraveled to have more than one significance, and reflect on the minds of the characters as well as of the authors. The underlying patterns of young females, who are restricted in some way at puberty and need male heroes, the loss of beauty and the middle aged, scheming, ill-wishing witches, provide a glimpse into the human unconscious. Repressed desires or fears are able to be unconsciously expressed through the symbolism and the imagery of the folk tales.

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