Psychology in Every Day Use by Alice Walker Essay

Psychology in Every Day Use by Alice Walker Essay

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Sigmund Freud’s theories of the unconscious mind focus on the dark aspects of fears and repressions that plague an individual in childhood, and follow them unresolved into adulthood. Freud divides the unconscious mind into a tri-part; Id where our deepest desires lie, ego our conscious mind, and super-ego our moral guide based on our culture. Deconstructing the function of each tri-part can seem biased, especially with Freud’s belief that women were inferior to men and people of color inferior to all. Applying these concepts to the opposite gender and different race wasn’t likely his top priority especially in an equal playing field but, using the basic concepts could give a new perspective on these excluded individuals, and the unique problems they may have faced.
In Alice Walker’s short story “Everyday Use”, from the psychoanalytical perspective, the three women in the story represent the tri-part division of the mind, evidenced by their actions and the descriptions of each within the story. Together, each tri-part illustrates what was, a black woman’s status in society, and the mental disturbances she faces as glimmers of social integration granted her an opportunity to elevate herself to a higher class, at the cost of her identity. Mama embodies the role of the super-ego. As the narrator in the story, it is through her eyes that the reader both judges and labels the character of her two daughters, and this is based on her own learned ethics. Dee embodies the Id; her role as an antagonistic foil to Maggie, represents the disturbance of impulses untamed. Lastly, Maggie embodies the ego; the conscious self, and is battered by the aggressive nature of the Id in her sister Dee and restricted by the morals taught and reiterat...


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...d in its place, Dee can no longer be seen as rejected from that home.” (Whitsitt)
Maggie’s conscious self, motivated the superego in Mama to deny the Id not because Dee is evil or conformist but because she shed too much culture to get where she is and to want to hang the quilt affects Mama who feels that it isn’t the right thing to do.
A black women in the mid-twenty may have gone either path forsake her roots, of cleave to them, but not without some emotional and mental unrest because the glimmer of change could be seen as nothing in the comparison to the long years of perseverance and preservation of culture under such oppression, or totally opposite that twinkle of change that they worked so hard for, balance is found in the end when they realized their roles, and their own skewed desires to do what was best for them same as each division of the tri-part.

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