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Psychological and Psychoanalytic Criticism

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Jerry Tulloch

on 3 April 2014

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Transcript of Psychological and Psychoanalytic Criticism

Psychological and Psychoanalytic Criticism
Definition
Psychological criticism deals with the work of literature as an expression of the personality, state of mind, feelings, and desires of it's author. A work of literature is correlated with the author's mental traits. The theory requires that we investigate the psychology, and personality of a character, and or author to figure out the meaning of a text, and to explain and interpret the work.
Background Info
-The theory of psychoanalytic literary criticism was developed by Sigmund Freud in 1897

-He was a well known psychologist and wanted a way to analyze the psyche of the audience, character and the author in a story

-In this he looked into the conscious and subconscious mind.

- Basically, he developed a way to explore the feelings and thoughts in the audience, character and author

- His theory has been questioned by well known theorist B.F. Skinner.


Pros of psychoanalytic theory
- Psychoanalytic criticism can reveal useful clues to the sometime hard to understand symbols, actions, and settings in a literary work.

- It addresses the importance of the unconscious that makes up the majority of all human being's personalities. Teaches readers how to recognize the effects of the unconscious on their daily lives (Iceberg analogy).

- The exploration of human behaviors based on motivation, unconscious, past situations and other defense mechanisms clearly explain why people behave a certain way at times

- Great for getting into the minds of the author, character, or audience.

- Emphasizes the importance of childhood experiences
Cons of psychoanalytic theory
- The readers are more focused on the author’s purpose behind their choice of words and their reasons why their wrote the literary work instead of reading their work

- Disregards the suspense that makes the work entertaining. By using this theory it loses the dramatic effect of the literary work, it takes away from the whole work itself

- The reader is focusing on the author’s personality to interpret their literary work. In other words, a reader is trying to analyze the author’s type of diction to try to predict their personality.

- The consciousness of the author is taken into consideration by the readers’

By: Jerry Tulloch Cassie Verslype, Kye Heimonen, Cole Beacock, Ryan Morin, Becky Rowswell
Psychoanalysis of "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The author Charlotte Perkins Gilman's personality, feelings, and desires are portrayed accurately in the story.
In her personal life; Charlotte shared experiences with the narrator in the story. Both suffered from mental illness, and were given very poor treatment advice from highly qualified doctors.
The state of mind portrayed by the narrator in the story, very well represents the state of mind experienced by Charlotte while enduring her own mental illness.
Charlotte wrote the story because she doesn't want anyone suffering from mental illness, to experience the same mistreatment by doctors as she did.
Psychoanalysis of "Flight" by Doris Lessing
It is believed that Doris echoed what happened in her own life in many ways while writing "Flight".
She was brought up in the African countryside, and had English roots which were clearly incorporated into the setting of the story.
"Flight" concentrates heavily on relationships within a family and parallel Lessing's own connections between her family members .
Conclusion
Psychological and Psychoanalytic criticism has been thoroughly investigated and applied to the short stories "The Yellow Wallpaper", "Flight", and "The Lottery".
The consciousness of the author was revealed by asking the question, "what was the author thinking while writing his/her story"?
Group members have discovered how to make reference to the author's personality in order to explain and interpret a literary work.
Psychoanalysis of "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson
Criticism Applied to Short Stories
- Based on Shirley Jackson's home town North Bennington
- Not only about tradition but also about betrayal and how her mother betrayed her by abusing her.
- Her time period suggests males "were dominant". This is shown when the oldest male of the family takes the ballet.
Works Cited
http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/english_literature/proseflight/0prose_flight_contrev3.shtml
http://www.universalteacher.org.uk/anthology/flight.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lottery
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirley_Jackson
http://northbennington.org/jackson.html
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