Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Freud seems to be a perfect piece in the post structuralist puzzle. Post structuralism looks for all of the disunity in a text where as Freudian, applied to literature looks to make sense of the lack of unity and omitted ideas. All of the unintentional breaks in a text can be explained, or at least begin to possibly be explained. One can begin to psychoanalyze the author or the critic of an author by trying to figure out the common link between these absences in the text for example in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby* there seem to be some questionable omissions.
“‘Come to lunch some day,’ he suggested, as we groaned down the elevator.
‘Keep your hands off the lever,’ snapped the elevator boy.
‘I beg your pardon,’ said Mr. McKee with dignity, ‘I didn’t know I was touching it’
‘Alright,’ I agreed, ‘I’d be glad to.’
… I was standing beside his bed and he was sitting up between the sheets, clad in his underwear, with a great portfolio in his hands.
‘Beauty and the Beast… Loneliness… Old Grocery Horse… Brook’n Bridge…’
Then I was half asleep in the cold lower level of the Pennsylvania Station, staring at the morning Tribune, and waiting for the four o’clock train”

Could this lever that Mr. McKee possibly had been the elevator boys penis? Why was Mr. McKee in his underwear? Why was Nick Callaway standing next to his bed? What happened in-between? Why and how did Nick end up at Penn Station at Four? These are all questions left to the reader to interpret. But perhaps this is just a defence mechanism for the narrator -and possibly author- covering up anything that may be seen as homosexual and potentially embarrassing for the Author. Maybe Nick was actually in the bed Mr. McKee and he is just projecting himself in his memory as next to the bed where Mr. McKee may or may not have been doing these possibly gay things. With this omission the narrator proves he is no longer reliable and we start to question all of his actions. Why is he telling this story even though he is only a marginal character in it. Is it because he feels unsafe about how he is going to be accepted in society. What is his obsession with Gatsby? Is he sexually attracted to him, does he see him as a fatherly figure going after Daisy in some sort of perverse Oedipus complex? Obviously this analysis cannot decisively answer any of these questions but it is interesting to look at these texts in a psychoanalytic perspective.

* I don't even particularly like The Great Gatsby it just happened to have come up in two of my posts.

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