بررسی نقد روان شناختی (بخش اول)


نوع مطلب :مطالب مفید درسی و مقالات ،

Theoretical Investigation of Psychoanalytic Criticism: (part one)

Two Important Questions:

Psychoanalysis begins its investigation by answering two questions:

The First question (Who am I?) is a question about identity; about nature of self. The answer can be: I am what which speaks or I am that which uses language.

Without language use, the question itself cannot be asked, so any being that asks that question is by definition a speaker (or writer) at any rate, a language user.

Selfhood is known as subjectivity. That answer allows us to consider the nature of language, and what language-use does to its users. Language is not needed unless something is absent but nevertheless imaginable. A being that uses language is constructed out of loss, and loss in turn is linked with desire. It is only in the absence of a desired object that language becomes necessary, and through the use of language that a self comes into existence. The form of that existence (that subjectivity) is both desiring and linguistic. Furthermore, the self is not a single, consistent entity, but a divided or multiple self located within and constructed by its many different discourses.

The answer to the Second question (How did I become that?) is for every self (i.e. every speaking subject) something like the personal history of the loss out of which both language use and desire came. It is the personal version of a more general situation recognized by both Freud and Lacan, namely that the self appears when the infant is deprived of absolute possession of its desired object (referred to as the mother) by a figure of authority (referred to as the Father).

Freud's 'Oedipal triangle' of mother-father-child involves a dynamic of denial and loss, compensated by acquisition of language. Language takes the place of the place of the lost object of desire.

The price paid for the selfhood as a linguistic existence (subjectivity) is a submission to the laws and structures of language, to the loss and the resulting sense of division in the self, and to the endless unacheivability of the desired object. This cost a. generates discomfort in the psyche and b. creates an abjected other to the self: an aspect of selfhood which one finds unacceptable and so casts out, projecting it into some other creature. Caliban in The Tempest can be considered as an abjected other – a creature containing all the characteristics that the virtuous humans deny possessing.

Freudian Therapeutic Terms

Freud’s topographical model represents his “configuration” of the mind: According to Freud, there are three levels of consciousness:

·         Conscious (small): this is the part of the mind that holds what you’re aware of. You can verbalize about your conscious experience and you can think about it in a logical fashion.

·         Preconscious (small-medium): this is ordinary memory. So although things stored here aren’t in the conscious, they can be readily brought into conscious.

·         Unconscious (enormous): Freud felt that this part of the mind was not directly accessible to awareness. In part, he saw it as a dump box for urges, feelings and ideas that are tied to anxiety, conflict and pain. These feelings and thoughts have not disappeared and according to Freud, they are there, exerting influence on our actions and our conscious awareness.  This is where most of the work of the Id, Ego, and Superego take place.

Material passes easily back and forth between the conscious and the preconscious. Material from these two areas can slip into the unconscious. Truly unconscious material can't be made available voluntarily, according to Freud. You need a psychoanalyst to do this! Iceberg metaphor for the mind’s layout: We can use the metaphor of an iceberg to help us in understanding Freud's topographical theory. Only 10% of an iceberg is visible (conscious) whereas the other 90% is beneath the water (preconscious and unconscious). The Preconscious is allotted approximately 10% -15% whereas the Unconscious is allotted an overwhelming 75%-80%.

1. Screen Memories:

Freud uses the word ' Screen Memories' for the memories that conceal significant earlier events. Within both the literary text and the discursive text of psychoanalysis, the other is displayed (screened). Therefore the qualities of this "other" are of great importance, since the self is projected into the other and formed in relation to it.

Freud acknowledges the difficulty of penetrating through to the origin, the primal cause of the hysteria. Following the patients' trains of association will often lead to other memories that are related to the cause of the hysteria or recount events that are manifestations of the disease itself, but are themselves not the underlying cause. Freud calls these peripheral but associatively related recollections screen memories: they "screen" the original causal event, but also point toward it by means of association.

To distinguish true causes from screen memories Freud proposes 2 conditions

that must be at work for an event to give rise to hysteria:

a.Suitability (or appropriateness) of an event to serve as a cause of the symptoms. In other words, the symptom must fit the cause. If a patient suffers from hysterical vomiting, for example, the root cause would likely be something that is associated with disgust.

b. The traumatic force of an event must be powerful enough for it to act as the cause of a hysteria. Hysterical vomiting cannot be caused, for example, by the experience of eating a rotten piece of fruit during one's childhood; this is simply not traumatic enough. This is the reason why Freud associates hysteria with sexual events: only these, he believes, carry enough traumatic force to stigmatize us to the point of creating a hysterical response.


2. The Talking Cure:

The 'Talking Cure' developed by Sigmund Freud assumed that the patient's stream of unchecked speech ('free association'), especially including reported dreams, could provide the therapist with metaphoric clues to the discords within  the unconscious mind which were causing the patient's physical (and therefore psychic) symptoms. Symptoms are read by Freud as a coded repetition of past traumas or frustrations, now repressed from consciousness. The fact of their repetition is an indicator of their importance in the patient's mind. Significantly, repetition is also a feature of literary language- it may occur in rhyme, as a sustained set of images or as a recurring structural motif- in any form, it can be read in a Freudian manner, as indicating something to which me as readers need to pay attention.



The chief mechanisms that effect the disguises of real motives and objects from conscious mind are a." Condensation" (the omission of parts of the unconscious material and the fusion of several unconscious elements into a single entity);             b." Displacement" (the substitution for an unconscious object of desire by one that is acceptable to the conscious mind); and c."Symbolism" (the representation of repressed, mainly sexual, objects of desire by nonsexual objects which resemble them or are associated with them in prior experience).

In dreams, Freud asserted, the unconscious expresses its suppressed wishes and desires. Since such wishes may be too hard for the unconscious psyche to handle without producing feelings of self-hatred or rage, the unconscious will present our concealed wishes through symbols, softening our desires. Through the process of displacement, for example, the unconscious switch a person's hatred of another onto a rotting apple in a dream, or through condensation, it may consolidate one's anger to a variety of people and objects into a simple sentence. Whatever the case4, through symbols and usually not directly, the unconscious continually asserts its influence over our motivations and behavior. Metaphor is an example of condensation and metonymy is an example of displacement.

Anxieties and repressed material could be represented metaphorically or metonymically, by the processes of 'condensation' and 'displacement'. In this way dreams 'screen' the unconscious mind, in both sense of the word.

For Freud and for later psychoanalysis generally, mind and body interact closely. Language thus gives a kind of oblique access not just to that area, of the mind which is outside conscious control but also to knowledge which is outside awareness, and especially to events which are lost to memory. Like a screen and like a code it both conceals and reveals the subject, hiding the history of a psychic state in language which, read subtly, narrates the events of the subject's construction.


Lacanian concepts

1. Imaginary/Symbolic/Real:

Lacan sees the transition from infancy to childhood as absolutely crucial. For Lacan, the pre-oedipal infant lives in what he calls the Imaginary. In this state, in which the child cannot yet speak, it is the subject to impressions and fantasies, to all sorts of drives, and has no sense of limitation and boundaries: as in Freud, it does not know that its body is not the world. Via the mirror stage (explained wholly later in this assay) the child enters the symbolic: it enters the world of language in which the Real- the Real world which we can never know- is symbolized and represented by way of language and other representational systems that operate like language. (We can never know the 'Real' because it can never be fully represented- it is beyond language.) This entrance into the 'symbolic' necessitates an acceptance of language and of the social and cultural systems that prevail in the child's environment.

Lacan says that language is always about loss or absence; you only need words when the object you want is gone. If your world was all fullness, with no absence, then you wouldn't need language. (Jonathan Swift, in Gulliver's Travels, has a version of this: a culture where there is no language and people carry all the objects they need to refer to on their backs).

With the transition from the Imaginary to the Symbolic, in which we submit to language and reason, we lose a feeling of wholeness, of undifferentiated being, that, again as in Freud, will forever haunt us. Because we do not have access to this preverbal self we live ever after with a lack. With Lacan, too, this loss of our original state results in desire, in an unspecific but deep-felt longing that can never be fulfilled, but can  only (temporarily) satisfy itself with symbolic substitutes.

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