Freudian Theory in Stone Angel Essay

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The Tragedy of Self Preservation In psychology, it has been proven that as humans, we have conditioned ourselves to behave in different ways in order to emotionally protect ourselves from others. Psychologists have defined these behaviors as defense mechanisms and have determined their use as a method in which to ignore thoughts we may consider unpleasant or uncomfortable to think about. Defense mechanisms primarily act on an unconscious level to the point where we ourselves do not even know we are using them because of the natural feel these thoughts give off. In Margaret Laurence’s novel, The Stone Angel, the reader witnesses Hagar Shipley fall prey countless times to these defense mechanisms and helplessly watch as the overuse of these mental barriers break down any hope of a real relationship with any one in her life. Hagar uses these walls to protect her pride and preserve her character despite the burden that it places on her. The most common defense mechanisms used in the novel are denial, repression, and displacement. Denial is considered the first of the many primitive defense mechanisms found in the human psyche. The reason for this is because of how common it is for a person to deny something in their life without a second thought or regret as a function to avoid admitting to a problem they recognize in themselves. This mechanism also appears to be Hagar’s weapon of choice as an attempt to discourage others from thinking any lower of her character. The most common example of Hagar’s denial is her constant refusal to believe she is getting old and her reluctance to take any help from either Marvin or Doris. A moment when we see this defense mechanism take place is when Doris asks Hagar to come have a cup of tea with her, but Hagar refuses and Doris brings up the fact that she had made a second pot yesterday because it had gone cold and Hagar dumped it

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