Psychoanalytic Theory As related to Huckleberry Finn
Psychoanalytic theory operates on the assumption: • If dreams and literature are both creations of the mind, then it’s possible to use the same interpretive strategies when examining both. • Of course, since this is psychoanalytical theory… those strategies would be psychoanalysis.
Freud’s 3 parts of the mind • Id= impulses and desires • Ego= enables Id • Superego= internalized values of society
Theory of Repression • Ego and super ego repress the socially “wrong” thoughts of the Id. (Example: Oedipal complex) Repressed thoughts are expressed by unconscious in dreams and literature
How are repressed thoughts expressed? • Condensation= several thoughts or people are condensed into one image • Displacement= a desire/ anxiety is displaced onto another related image
What do psychoanalytic critics ask the text? • How does the author’s creative process reveal their unconscious? • What does the text reveal about the author’s psychology? (characters may be condensed, displaced, or even be projections of the author) • How does the book impact the reader psychologically?
Journal 1: creative process • Read the quotations about Twain’s creative process. After reading each, what can you say about his attitude toward the writing process? • What does this reveal about him as a person?
Before we can ask what the novel reveals about Twain’s psychology, we need to know more about him.
Early Life • Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens 11/20/1835 • Sixth of seven kids • Parents: genteel Virginia families, proud of British heritage, families in financial decline • Mom: Jane (model for Aunt Polly) • Dad: Marshall. Storekeeper, lawyer, police officer. Bought land for mining, but had no ore. Always wanted to be wealthy, but failed.
1839- moved Hanibal, MI (model for St.Petersburg) • 1847- dad died pneumonia. • Dropped out of school age 13 to work at printers with older brother Orion and help support family • 1853- left home. Worked as printer various places.
River life • 1857- decide to move to South America • Sell Cocaine (not yet well known or illegal in USA) • On steamship heading to Louisiana, met captain. Convinced to stay on as apprentice • Next four years as steam ship captain on Mississippi.
Civil War • 1861- war breaks out. No more steam ships • Enlists confederate army. • Deserts after 2 weeks. Moves to Nevada, where Orion has govt job. Hopes to strike it rich in silver or gold. • Writes for Virginia City Newspaper • Wrote for income, not because a calling.
Mark Twain is born • 1863 first uses name Mark Twain as by line for Virginia City Paper. • On river = two fathoms (deep enough for boat to pass safely… or not) • In NV= 2 drinks bought on credit
Career is launched • Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavares County- published in NY • 1867- traveling correspondent for Alta California. • Published Innocents Abroad and a collection of short stories. • People know his name!
Love is in the air • While traveling for newspaper sees picture of friend’s sister… • A year later he’s in love. • Olivia Langdon, from wealthy east Coast family. • She and family think he’s beneath her. • Feb 2, 1870 wedding!
First comes love, then comes marriage, them comes… • A mansion! Her parents give them a mansion in Buffalo, NY • November: Langdon, sickly baby boy born (died 19 mos later) • 1871 Olivia gets typhoid. Sickly for rest of life.
Thrives • Move to Hartford, CT. Build bigger mansion. Next to Harriet Beacher Stowe. • Lavish lifestyle • 1872 Suzy • 1874 Clara • 1876 Tom Sawyer. BIG HIT! • 1876 start Huck Finn • 1880 Jean • 1884- finish Huck Finn
Uh Oh! • Lavish lifestyle= big price tag • Foolish investment in typesetting machine= big debt • 1895- financial trouble • 1895- year long lecture tour • 1896 Suzy died • 1902 Olivia sick. Moves to Italy. Rarely visited. • 1909 Olivia died • 1910 he died.
Psychoanalytic Journal #2 • Now you have the information you need to really try your hand as a psychoanalytic critic. So…what does the text tell you about Twain/ Clemens’ psyche(s)? (Remember: condensation, displacement, projection.)
Journal 3 • And just because it’s fun… what would you say to Huck if you were his therapist?