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The Id, Ego, & Superego in A Streetcar Named Desire

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Delana Wilkinson

on 13 January 2014

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Transcript of The Id, Ego, & Superego in A Streetcar Named Desire

The Id, Ego, & Superego in
A Streetcar Named Desire

The Ego ("I")
The part of the id that has been modified by the real world.
Responds to the 'reality principle': working in realistic ways to meet one's wishes. It often postpones satisfaction.
Compromise of the id and superego.
Thesis
Tennessee Williams uses the three main characters (Blanche, Stanley, and Stella) as a representation of the id, ego, and superego in
A Streetcar Named Desire.
Sigmund Freud
Id, Ego, & Superego
Freud theorized that the mind is structured into 3 parts that each develop at different stages in life.
The Superego ("Above I")
"Incorporates values and morals of society which are learned from one's parents and others"
Develops in stages 4-5 in phallic stage of psychosexual development
Controls the id's impulses and pursuades the ego into having moralistic goals and to strive to perfection
Image of "conscience" and "ideal self" ; feels guilt and then punishes the ego
Topic
The concept of the id, ego, and superego shown through the main characters within
A Streetcar Named Desire.
The Id ("it")
Consists of all the biological parts of our personality. Ex: sex, death
Impulsive and unconscious; responds to instincts
Primitive behavior; responds to the 'pleasure principle'
Pleasure principle: every wish should be immediately satisfied, regardless of the consequences.
Not affected by logic or reality.
"In the two major forms of internalization, introjection and identification, self-representations fuse with, and/or acquire the properties of, the object- representations of the figure one wishes to emulate. Introjections occur earlier in development, are more primitive."
Stanley Kowalski
The id
Responds immediately to his instincts.
Aggressive and pleasure-seeking
"He acts like an animal, has an animal's habits! Eats like one, moves like one, talks like one! There's something even sub-human - something not quite to the stage of humanity yet! Yes, something ape-like about him...Thousands and thousands of years have passed him right by, and there he is - Stanley Kowalksi - survivor of the stone age!...And you - you here - waiting for him! Maybe he'll
strike
you or maybe
grunt
and
kiss
you! That is, if kisses have been discovered yet!"
- Stanley is unpredictable and will do these things unconsciously.
“Stanley stalks fiercely through the portieres into the bedroom. He crosses to the small white radio and snatches it off the table. With a shouted oath, he tosses the instrument out the window.”
- Doesn't want to hear it, so his impulse is to throw it out since Blanche won't turn it off.
- Doesn't reason before throwing it out.
- The person he loves cannot stop him from following his instincts.
“Animal joy in his being is implicit in all his movements and attitudes. Since earliest manhood the center of his life has been pleasure with women, the giving and taking of it, not with weak indulgence, dependently, but with the power and pride of a richly feathered male bird among hens. He sizes women up with a glance, with sexual clarifications, crude images flashing into his mind and determining the way he smiles at them.”
- Stanley has raw desire, which relates to the ‘pleasure principle’.

“They stare at each other. Then they come together with low, animal moans. He falls to his knees on the steps and presses his face into her belly, curving a little with maternity.”


Stella Kowalski
The ego
She is the part of the id that has been modified by the direct influence of the external world.
The ego develops in order to mediate between the unrealistic id and the external real world.

“Why on our wedding night – soon as we came in here – he snatched off one of my slippers and rushed about the place smashing light bulbs with it.”; “I was – sort of – thrilled by it.”
“Her eyes go blind with tenderness as she catches his head and raises him level with her. He snatches the screen door open and lifts her off her feet and bears her into the dark flat.”
- She knew what he did was wrong, but her desire was to have sex with him.
- Uses reality principle of postponing her desire
Blanche Dubois
The superego
She incorporates the values and morals of society which are learned from one's parents and others.
“She's soaking in a hot tub to quiet her nerves. She's terribly upset.”
Cleansing = conscience

“I guess it is just that I have old-fashioned ideals!”
'Ideal Self'
“I guess you are used to girls that like to be lost. The kind that get lost immediately, on the first date!”'
“There is something about her uncertain manner, as well as her white clothes, that suggests a moth."
“Moths are creatures of the darkness. They are usually active at night
and rest during the day in a preferred wooded habitat.”
Contradicts her 'ideal self' because she's 'active at night.'
Conclusion
In
A Streetcar Named Desire
, Stanley, Stella, and Blanche are
used by Tennessee Williams to represent the id, ego, and superego.

Works Cited
Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire. N.p.: New Directions, 1984. Print.

Saravay, Stephen M. "A REVISED MODEL OF INTERNALIZATION DERIVED FROM GROUP PSYCHOLOGY." JSTOR. Eastern Group Psychotherapy Society, 1994. Web.

Bak, John S. "Criticism on A Streetcar Named Desire." Cercles. Université De Nancy, 2004. Web. 11 Dec. 2013.

Velleman, J. David. "A Rational Superego." JSTOR. Duke University Press on Behalf of Philosophical Review, n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2013. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/2998287>.

Jesmin, Ruhina. "A Psychoanalytic Insight Into Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire—Psychic Strength From Defense Mechanism." Journal of Literature and Art Studies. David Publishing, Mar. 2012. Web. 11 Dec. 2013.

Kristof, Nagy P. "Symbolism of Setting and Characters in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire." N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <http://zeus.nyf.hu/~nagypkristof/publikaciok/symbolisminstreetcar.pdf>.

Velleman, J. David. "A Rational Superego." JSTOR. Duke University Press on Behalf of Philosophical Review, n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2013. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/2998287>.
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