Semiotics of the Landscape

1021 Words5 Pages
The secrets that are held within our hearts always find a way to express themselves. This is true of every individual. Our secret desires and experiences show themselves little by little through our dreams, our personalities, and even through our hobbies. This is a partial description of Sigmund Freud's theory of the unconscious mind. What secrets are being expressed in Margaret Atwood's short story which is called Death by Landscape? How are these secrets manifesting themselves through the story? The answer to that question is how the presence of landscape is portrayed throughout the short story. This paper will discuss how the inner secrets and thoughts of the main character, who is named Lois, are expressed throughout the short story in the depiction of the Canadian wilderness, particularly the landscape portraits. A Freudian psychoanalytical analysis will be used in order to better understand not only the concept of the unconscious mind, but in order to reach a better understanding of the character Lois and the story as a whole.

First, let us analyze Freud's theory of psychoanalysis. Sigmund Freud developed psychoanalysis as a therapeutic method to help recover and deal with memories. Psychoanalysis deals heavily with the concepts of the unconscious minds, repressed memories and other Freudian thoughts, because it is a primarily personal experience. Psychoanalysis is also related to Freud's interpretation of dreams. Freud felt that each individual dream could be understood as the unconscious mind projecting thoughts and secret desires in a form that could trick the censoring system of the brain. In a way, dream analysis can be understood as trying to decipher the clues to a mystery that you already know, but have forgotten ...

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...f Lucy and all the associations she had with her for a long time.

The content of a painting of the Canadian wilderness is hardly warm. They are harsh climates with harsher realities behind them. This is the attitude within herself that Lois is unconsciously collecting. The distance that she keeps others, including her now dead or grown family, is represented in the pictures that she collects. She is, in a way, still collecting these pieces of the wilderness to hold on to Lucy; yet she is also doing it to hold on to herself. She's blaming herself, pushing herself with constant reminders in such a subtle manner that she barely notices it until they're all placed directly in front of her. This is the power of the unconscious mind. This is how our true selves, our true desires and thoughts can be pushed forward and expressed without our even having realized it.
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