Psychoanalytic Analysis : Young Goodman Brown Essay

Psychoanalytic Analysis : Young Goodman Brown Essay

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When given the choice to write a paper based on how either new criticism, structuralism, deconstruction, or psychoanalysis is involved and put to use with one of the readings given thus far, it seems a pretty obvious choice to choose the psychoanalysis, school of criticism, and the short story, Young Goodman Brown. The choice is obvious because psychoanalysis is the study of the unconscious and how it affects the conscious when making decisions, while the main character in Young Goodman Brown, has to question that if the experiences he has throughout the majority of the story are dream or reality.
For one to be able to understand how psychoanalysis can be applied to Young Goodman Brown, one must first be able to comprehend how psychoanalysis can be used to interpret literature. Sigmund Freud, otherwise known as the founding father of psychoanalysis, created the tripartite model (or the structural model), this model will help in interpreting not only the protagonist, but the other characters and author as well. The structural model consists of the id, ego and superego, and according to the text:
The id is the seething cauldron of basic drives in their primitive, selfish, unorganized state. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the superego is the moralizing conscience, with its rules and sense of right and wrong. Meanwhile, the ego is the realist organizer and planner that mediates between the id and the superego. (Parker, 123)
Where Freud would normally look at a person’s dreams and their unconscious actions, when using psychoanalysis to interpret literature, one must focus on all the little details that make the story up. In the case of Young Goodman Brown, one must not forget to focus on the author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, as well...


... middle of paper ...


...o lack of material to psychoanalyze. The pink ribbons in Faith’s hair, her name, the way he is referred to as goodman, the witch, the devil and his staff are all great examples of symbols in the story that give a deeper meaning, and need to be analyzed. The most important part of the story that needs to be recognized and analyzed is the fact that Brown is unaware if everything he experienced was a dream or not, and that more than anything that happened made him question his own morality. His id, ego and superego were constantly acknowledged and even referred to in the text, his conscience was alluded to on several occasions, and that is what the main focus of psychoanalysis is. In the end, Brown chose the life of his ego, and lived a life he was unhappy with, but one where he did nothing wrong, and nothing good, one where, “his dying hour was gloom.” (Hawthorne, 241)

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