A Jungian Analysis of How Like a God Essay

A Jungian Analysis of How Like a God Essay

Length: 987 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

A Jungian Analysis of How Like a God

Isaac Asimov was certainly correct when he stated that the writer of a story doesn't necessarily know everything about it. The author, Brenda W. Clough, claims not to have had an acquaintance with Carl Jung's work when writing How Like a God.  However, the architecture of the book is strikingly Jungian.

 

In the beginning of the novel, the main character, Rob has very little interest in his appearance. Many computer people are like that, and he has his devoted wife Julianne to make all the sartorial decisions for him. He looks like a desk warrior, pale, uninteresting, and out of shape. He wears neutral colors, beige and brown, to symbolize his undifferentiated state. In second part of the novel, under the intolerable agony of losing his family, Rob's cold dark side emerges and quickly takes over. The new regime is inaugurated by unnatural and life-denying behavior: not eating, not drinking, not sleeping, but sinking down into the dark on a park bench. Rob's appearance alters as he takes to wearing rags and a dark blue toggle coat. He loses weight because he forgets to eat. Even his sexuality is warped. When he faces up to what's going on he immediately tries to change by getting a haircut. At the hairdresser he notices music for the first time in the book. He also notices he's blonder. He now has a light, and a dark, side.

 

In part three of the novel, under Edwin's beneficent influence, Rob cultivates his better inclinations and inadvertently worsens a one-sidedness. He forces the tramp, now stigmatized as a frightening monster, down into the sub-basement of himself -- the trap-door of which, however, has no lock. Edwin is the natural ally of Rob's good, lighter side...


... middle of paper ...


...the power warp him into not-self, of becoming Gilgamesh. He knows the face of his own evil now, and the knowledge is a responsibility.

 

In this soup of symbols Edwin has two roles. He is of course a hermeneut, guiding Rob towards self-realization. But he is also Virgil, the icon of reason and light and learning to Rob's Dante. (This is the reason why Rob is vaguely repelled by The Divine Comedy in the New York Public Library. At that point he's in full avoidance mode, and even the first line of the poem cuts too close to home. “Midway in our life's journey I went astray from the straight road, and woke to find myself alone in a dark wood.” Ouch!) Edwin can guide Rob forward to the final confrontation with his dark side, but he can't battle the shadow himself. In fact Edwin finds Rob's unconscious realm intolerable, since reason has no place there.

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

A Jungian Analysis of the Epic of Gilgamesh Essay

- A Jungian Analysis of the Epic of Gilgamesh      This paper will provide a unique, psychological perspective on a timeless story that is alive with mythological and religious splendor. I must state clearly that this is not the first time that Gilgamesh has been viewed in the light of the philosophy of Jung.  One of two Jung essays I happened upon while preparing my research was the Psychology of Religion. Although I initially felt that this source would provide little help with my paper, I was very mistaken....   [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays]

Better Essays
3188 words (9.1 pages)

Analysis of Shakespeare's The Tempest - A Jungian Interpretation Essay

- A Jungian Interpretation of the Tempest   Shakespeare’s Tempest lends itself to many different levels of meaning and interpretation. The play can be seen on a realistic plane as a tale of political power and social responsibility. It can be seen as allegory examining the growth of the human spirit. The Tempest investigates marriage, love, culture. It is symbolic of man’s rational higher instincts verses his animal natural tendencies. This is a play of repentance, power, revenge and fate that can also be seen as fantasy, dream, imagination, metaphor or magic....   [tags: Shakespeare The Tempest]

Free Essays
2401 words (6.9 pages)

Essay on Picture of Dorian Gray: A Jungian Analysis

-   The Picture of Dorian Gray begins with Basil describing his fascination with Dorian, and ends with his masterpiece reverting to its original splendour. He describes his reaction to Dorian in these words: "When our eyes met, I felt I was growing pale. A curious sensation of terror came over me. I knew that I had come face to face with some one whose mere personality was so fascinating that, if I allowed it to do so, it would absorb my whole nature, my whole soul, my very art itself." (6) Such a reaction is not a reaction to another human being....   [tags: Picture Dorian Gray Essays]

Free Essays
928 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on Jungian Psychology Analyze on Steppenwolf

- ... Haller then, recognizing the constellation of the world due to the outcome of the war, synergizes with Gustav in the vicious “jolly hunting” trip and gradually individuate the trickster archetype into his personality through the means of killing and taking joy from the doom of others. Meanwhile, the trickster within the two jolly hunters grows too large and transforms itself into a heinous prank of worldly destruction. Much despising living and the world that has granted him to live, Gustav resolves to bring the world to an end: But granting that the conception of duty is no longer known to me, I still know the conception of guilt – perhaps they are the same thing....   [tags: Hermann Hesse novel analysis]

Better Essays
1205 words (3.4 pages)

A Conceptualization of Tulia Using Jungian Theory Essay

- Create a conceptualization of Tulia using Jungian theory. Tulia is a 31-year-old woman of mixed ethnicity, her father of European-American decent, and her mother of African-American descent. Her parents divorced when she was young. Her mother remarried and Tulia grew up in a blended family. Tulia presents with depression and anxiety from a car accident. She reports chronic pain with her neck and back related to injuries she received in the accident. Tulia states she find it hard to enjoy activities that once were a pleasure....   [tags: Psychology]

Better Essays
711 words (2 pages)

A Jungian Reading of Beowulf Essay

- A Jungian Reading of Beowulf     This essay will propose an alternative means by which to examine the distinctive fusion of historical, mythological, and poetic elements that make up the whole of Beowulf.  Jeffrey Helterman, in a 1968 essay, “Beowulf: The Archetype Enters History,” first recognized Grendel as a representation of the Shadow archetype and identified Grendel’s mother as an archetypal Anima image; I wish to extend the scope of the reading by suggesting that the dragon, too, represents an archetype: the archetype of the Self.  John Miles Foley, in his landmark 1977 essay “Beowulf and the Psychohistory of Anglo-Saxon Culture,” first suggested that the progression of battles betw...   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]

Better Essays
1635 words (4.7 pages)

Analysis of Hills Like White Elephants Essay

- Analysis of Hills Like White Elephants “Hills Like White Elephants”, by Ernest Hemingway, is a short story published in 1927 that takes place in a train station in Spain with a man and a woman discussing an operation. Most of the story is simply dialogue between the two characters, the American and Jig. This couple is at a critical point in their lives when they must decide whether or not to have an abortion. Certain themes arise from this story such as choices and consequences, doubt and ambiguity, and how men and women relate....   [tags: Hills Like White Elephants Essays]

Better Essays
1037 words (3 pages)

Analysis of Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway Essay

- Analysis of Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway "Hills Like White Elephants," is a short story,. It is a story about a man and a woman waiting at a train station talking about an issue that they never name. I believe this issue is abortion. In this paper I will prove that the girl in the story, who's name is Jig, finally decides to go ahead and have the baby even though the man, who does not have a name, wants her to have an abortion. It is the end of the story that makes me think this....   [tags: Hills Like White Elephants Essays]

Better Essays
1059 words (3 pages)

Analysis of Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway Essay

- Analysis of Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway In “Hills Like White Elephants” Ernest Hemingway relies on symbolism to convey the theme of abortion. The symbolic material objects, as well as the strong symbolic characters, aid the reader’s understanding of the underlying theme. The material objects that Hemingway uses to convey the theme are beer, the good and bad hillsides, and a railroad station between two tracks. The beer represents the couple’s, “the American” and “the girl’s”, usual routine activity they do together....   [tags: Hills Like White Elephants Essays]

Better Essays
913 words (2.6 pages)

Hills Like White Elephants, a Theme Analysis Essay

- Ernest Hemmingway uses time, place, and symbolism in "Hills like White Elephants" to intensify the central dilemma in a story about a man and a woman deciding on whether to go through with an abortion. Although a literal reading of the title may not seem to have any relation to the story, the title is rich in implications. Critics suggest that "Hills" refers to the shape of a woman's stomach when pregnant, and Webster's 21st Century Dictionary defines white elephant as: "[An] awkward, useless possession." The term is also defined in Webster's as an item that is worthless to some but priceless to others....   [tags: Hills Like White Elephants Essays]

Better Essays
1242 words (3.5 pages)