V. The Material and Sources of Dreams, the Oedipus Complex
What is the chief source of neurosis, according to Freud? (919, being in love with one parent and hating the other, a magnification of common feelings) Which parent is usually preferred, according to his assumptions?
Why does he feel the Oedipus story is significant? How does his view differ from that of Nietzsche? Why does he think this story has the power to move readers? (921, "His destiny moves us only because it might have been ours")
Is Freud correct that tragedies of destiny lacking this plot have failed? (920) How about the Oresteia?
How does Freud interpret Hamlet's delays in killing his uncle? What evidence does he give? (Hamlet written after the death of Shakespeare's father) Have any producers of Hamlet partially agreed with his views?
Does Freud accept the possibility of multiple interpretations? (923)
VI. The Dream Work
What does Freud mean by latent content? What makes dreams especially revealing? (a picture puzzle of latent dream thoughts)
What does Freud mean by the work of condensation? What error do people make in judging compression? (924, tend to underestimate the amount of compression which has taken place)
What potential does Freud's belief that there is always the possibility of more meaning have for literary criticism? What may be some pitfalls?
What is dream-displacement and how does it operate? (925, by overdetermination) What combinatorial qualities does it have? (creates new values from elements of low psychical value, strips elements of high psychical value of their intensity)
Again, what literary qualities might reside in these two goals?
According to Freud, what parts of speech and thought are omitted in dream representations? What comes to take the place of logical structures of speech? (927, logical connection may be represented by simultaneity in time)
How are causal relations indicated? (928, by temporal sequence) What happens to the presentation of either-or alternatives? (usually both are included)
What happens to contraries and contradictions? (929, simply disregarded) Is this a disadvantage?
"The Uncanny," 1919 (umheimlich, disquieting), 929-52
How does Freud define the "umheimlich"? (930, the class of the frightening which leads back to what is known of old and long familiar) What two sets of meanings are associated with it? (the comfortable, the secret and hidden)
What are some examples of the "uncanny" which Freud adduces? (935, waxwork figures, manifestations of insanity) What literary example does he give? (E. A. Hoffman tale of the Sandman, a horrible tale of the loss of one's eyes and madness)
What seems especially horrific to Freud about the loss of eyesight? (938, substitute for castration) How does he interpret the tale? (938)
What are some of the meanings and forms of doubling? (twinning, dividing, interchanging of self, recurrence, repetitions through several generations) Can you think of plots which operate in this way? (e. g., Wuthering Heights, multi-gerational bildungsroman)
What is the relationship of doubling and death?
--the double can be used to protect from death (e. g., an image of the dead in grave)
--can be harbinger of death, as in ghost stories, e. g. "Clerk Saunders," Rossetti's "The House of Life," (940)
What are the origins of the figure of the double? (941, early mental stage before the self has differentiated from others)
What are some instances of the horrific or frightening aspects of doubling? (942, circling around in mist and returning to the same spot, cmp. Rossetti's "Willowwood"; finding same number repeatedly; 943, compulsion to repeat)
What is a feature of the mental life of obsessional neurotics? (presentiments)
What does Freud make of the phenomenon of the dread of the evil eye? (943 fear of others' envy)
What does he associate with a sense of the omnipotence of thoughts? (944, voodun, animism) What is the relation of the uncanny to animism? (the uncanny touches the residue of animism within us)
Why does the uncanny recur? (944, is repressed) What are some instances of the return of the uncanny? (the return of spirits and ghosts)
Why do we fear the return of the dead? (fear implies the belief that the dead man is the enemy of his survivor and seeks to carry him off, as in "Clerk Saunders")
Under what circumstances may a living person be perceived as uncanny? (945, if accompanied by special powers)
What are some other instances of the uncanny? (946, a severed head, feet which dance by themselves, 946)
What effect does the uncanny have on our perception of reality? (946, distinction between imagination and reality is effaced) What may (according to Freud) a sense of familiarity or deja vu imply? (947)
To what does Freud ascribe the fact that a disproportionate number of incidents of the uncanny occur in literary texts? How do such incidents affect us differently when they occur in literature? (950-51)
Which types of literature seem most receptive to a Freudian analysis?
What is a fetish, according to Freud? (953) What function does it serve? (protects against threat of castration, 954)
What explanation does he give for the pre-1900 Chinese practice of binding the feet of women? (956) Can you think of additional interpretations?
Selections from Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, 2001 ed., pp. 919-52)