Freudian Psychoanalytic Criticism in Literature

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Anna Cairo English 250 Professor Woodward March 4th, 2015 Freudian Psychoanalytic Criticism in Literature Freudian psychoanalytic criticism seeks to analyze a literary piece through the Freudian theories of psychology, that is, the theories coined by Sigmund Freud. Despite the fact that Freud’s work is now discredited by many, it is still important to understand how his theories can be applied to the analysis of literature. Psychoanalytic criticism is, very generally, the argument that literary texts express the secret, unconscious desires and anxieties of the author, and that these desires are manifested in the author’s work. The psychological material will often be presented in the form of symbolism, images, and metaphors, which is why it it is a particularly interesting interpretation to literary critics. Specifically, Freudian psychoanalytic criticism is important in literature because it explores the relationship between the unconscious mind and aspects of literature, interprets the presence of psychoanalytic conditions in literary texts, and can help discover symbolism in literature through the return of repressed emotions. Dream work is an important part of the unconscious mind idea in psychoanalytic analysis that in turn relates to literary analysis. Freud believed that, “a dream is an escape-hatch or safety-valve through which repressed desires, fears, or memories seek an outlet into the conscious mind” (Barry 94). Essentially, something that is in the unconscious part of the mind can manifest itself in a dream, through what Freud categorized as two forms: displacement and condensation. Both devices in a dream represent another idea, which is sometimes sexual. No matter the content, though, these devices, psychoanalytically, disguise the repressed fears and wishes so they can enter into the conscious mind. Therefore, these abstract ideas or feelings
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