Sunday, March 3, 2013

Fairy tales and Jungian psychoanalysis


Carl Jung, a disciple of Freud whom was known with the psychoanalysis of human mind, developed several approaches in human psyche, including the components of conscious and unconscious. Fairy tales and Jungian psychoanalysis have been sharing a strong relationship and Jungian theories have a great impact on the studies of fairytales around the world. His theories may lead to the understanding of symbols in fairytales or the formation of any original fairy tales in the world.

One of Jungian theories goes into the detail of human personality, which includes ego, personal unconscious and collective unconscious. The personal unconscious and ego are unique to individual. Personal unconscious concerns any human materials beneath or below the surface of consciousness. It is repressed memories or thoughts that are deep inside human psyche and hard to reveal. An example of personal unconsciousness is that the Little Red Riding Hood is driven by her own pleasure that she ignores her mother’s instruction and strays on the other road. She gives in to the temptation of her id and follows her desire without thinking initiatively. 

The ego is “the conscious component of personality, carries out normal activities”. The ego is achieved with the consciousness. Two kids in Hansel and Gretel show their egos when substitute bone for finger or trick the witch to climb into the oven. They consider the situations and use their intelligence to deal with the witch. In Little Red Riding Hood, the hunter hears the strange snore coming from the house of an old woman, he does not leave but decided to go in and check. Also as he sees an “old sinner” – the wolf – he thinks carefully and does not kill the wolf so as to save the old woman. Ego exists when people is driven by reality principle, know to plan and act appropriately in order not to make mistakes. 


The collective unconscious explains the common in the plot of fairy tales around the world. Human is likely to experience somewhat similar in life, all connected to create collective unconscious. All of the patterns of collective unconscious lie under the personal conscious and expressed through the form of archetypes. Archetypes are typical basic patterns of human psyche common to all human.  For example: they may be created from the perception of mother figure since everyone has variety of experiences with the mother. Prof. Mazeroff also mentioned some popular archetypes in fairy tales like the wise old man, evil mother, the forest or the shadow. Also I am quite interested in his using of Harry Potter for several of his examples, like the example of shadow (Vodermolt is Harry Potter’s shadow) or the wise old man figure of Dumbledore. Those examples are familiar to young people and also could best support the point Dr. Mazeroff mentioned in the speech.