Monday, June 25, 2018

Psychoanalysis | Sigmund Freud | UGC Net JRF Notes

Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis word means is to dealing with mental disorder and it simply relates with the study of unconscious mind. The term Psychoanalysis firstly used by Sigmund Freud in 1896. Freud was a neurologist, treating patients for neurotic symptoms. He realizes that the treatment would not be conscious.


Freud had developed certain theories about how the mind works and how sexual instincts impact on human behavior. By interpreting dreams and allowing patients to make free associations of ideas, the psychoanalyst could get some glimpse of the working of the unconscious side of the mind. Broadly then, the psychoanalytic critic would also try to unravel the unconscious elements in the mind of the author, the characters. However, psychoanalytic criticism is much more complex than this simple description would have you believe. And as we look further at the ideas of Freud.

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud (1851-1939), an Austrian, was a practicing psychoanalyst. In his early career he examined cases of hysteria. At a later point, identity, sexuality, and the unconscious also became his concerns. His biggest contribution has been that he gave us new and powerful ways of looking at human thought and behavior. The linguistic aspect is extremely crucial to a large part of literary theory

Sigmund Freud’s Idea of Psychoanalysis

In Psychoanalysis, Freud's view of the 'the unconsciousness' will be our starting point. From these move to child psychology, sexuality and the interpretation of dreams. Freud believed that the larger part of the individual's mental processes were unconscious. On account of the powerful taboos attached to certain sexual impulses, a number of them come to be 'repressed' i.e. actively excluded from conscious awareness. At the same time, there are a number of things in our mental make-up on which we do not have much conscious control. Many conscious processes also become latent soon after being conscious for a short period. That does not rule out the possibility of their becoming conscious again. One variety of 'the unconscious' is that which gets transformed into conscious material more easily and under conditions which are available to us more frequently. The other is where such a transformation is not that easy. In some cases the transformation docs not come about at all.
Freud's concern for Psychoanalysis
Freud's concern for Psychoanalysis is more with the second variety of 'the unconscious'. Psychoanalysis a therapy is also referred to as a kind of 'talking cure'. Freud came upon a method of analysis in which patients would say whatever came to their mind regardless of how seemingly meaningless it was. Freud's special interest was in patients with neurotic symptoms which pointed to unresolved conflicts between their unconscious inclinations or feeling and the repressive demands of the ego. That brings us to the three 'psychic zones' as they were spelt out by Freud. These are 'the ego' 'the id' and 'the superego'. 'The id' is crucial because it is tied up with the libido i.e. sexual energy. 'The id' is in fact the reservoir of the libido. It knows no 'good' or 'evil'. It goes for the pleasure principle which is the primordial life principle. All it his is an impulse to obtain satisfaction for instinctual needs. As such, it is largely the source of our desires and our aggression. It does not have. Much regard for moral restraint, social conventions, legality or ethics.


In view of these potentialities of 'the id' other psychic zones are needed to protect the individual and society. One of these,' 'the ego', is a kind of rational governing agent of the psyche.
'The ego' is largely governed by 'the world out there'. It regulates the instinctual drives of 'the id' so that release may be found for them in non-destructive behavior patterns. The third 'psychic zone' is 'the superego' which is a kind of moral censoring agency. This one is the advocate of the leaning toward perfection. When 'the ego' tries to restrain 'the id', it does so on account of practical considerations. The superego, in comparison, brings to the proceedings a touch of idealism. In that sense it is tied up with 'the higher things' in life. So, one could establish a correspondence of sorts by linking 'the id' to the pleasure principle, 'the ego' to the reality principle and 'the superego' to the morality principle. Child psychology and sexuality are among important aspects of Freud's thought. Freud saw the child passing through a series of 'phases' each marked by the dominance of a particular 'erogenous zone' i.e: a portion of our system where pleasure comes to be largely localized. These 'phases' are phases in erotic development in she child's first five years or so.
The three zones are the oral zone, the anal zone and the genital zone. These zones have to do not only with pleasure in stimulation but also with the gratification of vital human needs like food and expulsion of excreta. During the first phase the child derives satisfaction through sucking and this is pleasurable. The next leading sensations for the child are anal. Expulsion brings relief to the child by removing the source of tension. Then comes a stage of preoccupation with the genitals. The name for this zone is 'the phallic erogenous zone'. Around the age of five, the child's devotion to his mother and his identification with his father start proceeding side by side until his ‘sexual wishes in regard to his mother start asserting themselves. This is when what has been called 'the Oedipus complex' starts manifesting itself. His father now comes to be seen as an obstacle. The wish that starts taking shape is to get rid of his father in order to take his place with his mother. Further manifestations of 'the Oedipus complex' are fear of castration and identification of the father with authority.
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A dream is seen by Freud as a disguised fulfillment of a suppressed or repressed wish. In that sense, it comes to be a kind of 'compromise' between the demands of impulses and the intensity of the various repressing forces. What needs to be kept in mind here is that dreams are only one part of our access to 'the unconscious'. Jokes, bungling, misreading, failures of memory and unaccountable slips of the tongue all belong to the same category. In the case of jokes it applies more to jokes with a libidinal, anxious or aggressive content. Freud stressed that the interpretation of dreams is 'the royal road' to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind. In that sense the dream is only an extended study of the conscious, and, at the same time, an argument for the unconscious. 'Dream work', a key term in Freud's work Interpretation of Dreams refers to the process or piece of mental activity of which 'dream thoughts’ are converted into the dream-content.
Condensation, displacement, secondary revision are four activities that go into dream-work. Briefly, condensation comes about when the apparent dream has a very smaller content than the latent one and is thus an abbreviated translation of it. The dream by itself may put on a disguise. In the words, abstract ideas or feelings get converted into concrete images. The concealing of the suppressed doubts and wishes has a role in getting them past the censor which normally does not allow them to surface into the conscious mind.


Psychoanalysis has been helpful in an understanding of works such as Shakespeare's Hamlet and D.H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers. A considerable part of literary language relies heavily on 'displacement', 'condensation' and on the metaphorical dimensions provided by them. If we believe with deconstructionists like Paul de Mail and J. Hill is Miller that all language is innately figural then these features of literary language become all the more crucial to any understanding of the literary use of language
This section of Psychoanalysis  contains short analysis of Freud’s Theory , this material is been taken from the IGNOU Books. If you have any doubts and you want more such materials so let us know through comment .

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