Psychoanalysis, Cinema, and Symbolism

analytical Essay
665 words
665 words

Psychoanalysis, Cinema, and Symbolism

In the article “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” Laura Mulvey discusses the relationships amongst psychoanalysis (primarily Freudian theory), cinema (as she observed it in the mid 1970s), and the symbolism of the female body. Taking some of her statements and ideas slightly out of their context, it is interesting to compare her thoughts to the continuum of oral-print-image cultures.

A great deal of this interesting comparison is encouraged by the introductory sections of Mulvey’s essay. She writes, “the paradox of phallocentrism in all its manifestations is that it depends on the image of the castrated woman to give order and meaning to its world” (198). If phallocentrism depends on an image, is it inherently part of a modern, image-based culture? Long before Freud and psychoanalysis, phallocentrism certainly existed in oral and written texts (though without this specific term to identify it). Can the “image” that Mulvey refers to include an image described with words, or is she writing exclusively of a visual, dimensional imag...

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes laura mulvey's article "visual pleasure and narrative cinema," which discusses the relationships between psychoanalysis, cinema, and the symbolism of the female body.
  • Analyzes how mulvey's essay encourages a comparison of phallocentrism with freud and psychoanalysis. if it depends on an image, is it inherently part of modern, image-based culture?
  • Analyzes how mulvey explains the function of woman in forming the patriarchal unconscious. she symbolizes the castration threat by her real absence of a penis and raises her child into the symbolic.
  • Analyzes how mulvey's "patriarchal unconscious" is centered on phallocentrism. she excludes literature from the breadth of places where women are objectified, symbolized, or generalized.
  • Analyzes how mulvey refers to a patriarchal "linguistic command" and the "language of patriarcy." if men have meaning in language, women must as well.
  • Analyzes how mulvey's discussion of the cinema and its attributes brings to mind our discussions of an internet culture and reality television programming.
  • Explains that mulvey's article is not directly in line with his goals, but it surfaces a useful idea. many theoretical discussions can be usefully evaluated according to their views on oral, print, and image culture as it progressed and circularized through time.
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