A Jungian Approach to Understanding Literature Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein C. G. Jung’s Archetypes of the Greater Self Other Polar Archetypes that May Be Played by Either Gender Before we move on to studying literature, we need to have a few more psychological tools. There were two early psychologists who vied for the title “Father of Modern Psychology.”  One was Sigmund Freud, whose studies of human sexual drives and infant sexuality have colored most interpretations of his work.  The other, Carl G. Jung, mentioned above, was a contemporary of Freud’s, who came to study with him and then broke off with him and went his own way with a prolific body of work in dreams, myths, and archetypes, or universal roles. Freud is important for our purposes in this course because he defined what is known as the Oedipus Complex; he noted the common desire on the part of young men to vie with their fathers for their mother’s attention; he said that a subconscious urge on the part of those young men was to replace the father as the mother’s consort, and in effect to have sex with the mother. A comparable complex for women who want to replace their mothers and have sex with their fathers is the Electra Complex, so-called because in the Greek story of the House of Atreus, Electra offed her mother Clytemnestra after Clytemnestra offed Electra’s father Agamemnon. Freud is also important to us because he wrote essays on three of the figures we’ll study in this course: the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten, the Greek legendary figure Oedipus, and the Hebrew patriarch Moses. And that’s about all I’m going to say on Freud for the present, because, as the saying goes,  “I’m too Jung to be a-Freud.” Whereas Freud used the dreams of his clients as springboards to helping them talk about their complexes and problems, Jung examined the dreams for the symbols that were in them.  Eventually, he recognized that many of these symbols resembled similar symbols and patterns in myths, fairy tales, and the literature of all cultures in all ages.  Hence, he said, these were archetypal symbols, valid for all people in all cultures in all time frames.  He even suggested we access these universals because we’re all connected to what he referred to as the Collective Unconscious, or Anima Mundi, which means World Soul. Anima is the Latin word for soul; psyche is the Greek word for soul.  Hence, when we get to the story of “Cupid and Psyche” in Hamilton, we have a little embedded meaning in the names that suggests the soul must be united with love (represented by the god of love, Cupid); that is its longing, and it will willingly undergo many trials to accomplish this goal.  The Greek word for soul gives rise to such words as psychology, psychiatry, and psychic. But Jung himself more often used the terms anima and animus. Jung, like the ancient Jewish Kabbalists, demonstrated that everyone has both male and female characteristics.  And he went further to suggest that each person must eventually contact and experience all the archetypal roles in order to achieve what he called the process of “individuation” or wholeness. Admittedly he did not go as far as some modern psychologists, because in his day he didn’t believe women could play the roles of heroes—I guess he’d never heard of Joan of Arc or read about Dorothy in Oz. Like the Taoist yin-yang symbol, which suggests that every polarity has a touch of the polar opposite in it, and that both polarities are necessary for wholeness, Jung demonstrated that virtually all of the archetypes had polarities within them. He said that when a woman dreams of a man she does not know, she is trying to get in touch with her own animus.  When a man dreams of a woman he doesn’t know, he is trying to get in touch with his own anima. C. G. Jung’s Archetypes of the Greater Self Masculine Archetypes  Animus  Hero  Wise Old Man Feminine Archetypes Anima Maiden Mother/Great Mother Other Polar Archetypes that May Be Played by Either Gender Trickster / Scapegoat Outer Personality or Mask Shadow/Mirror Syzygy (Divine Hermaphrodite)  We’ll be seeing many of these archetypes in the literature we’ll be reading.  The important thing to remember is that archetypes are universal and link each of us with everyone else, because everyone must play all the roles at some time or another.  Keep your eyes open for some of these archetypal roles as we make our way through the course, and for any other patterns that may repeat themselves.  Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily