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Psychoanalysis of Characters

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Psychoanalysis of characters When people think of psychoanalysis, usually one name comes to mind. This would be Sigmund Freud. Freud, along with Carl G. Jung and Alfred Adler, has impacted the history of psychoanalysis. Further, he has influenced the lives of the men and women during the early 1900s. In critical theory today: a user friendly guide, Tyson explains the critical theories of psychoanalysis and Marxism. It’s all about the studies of human behaviors for example, human mind, especially inner experiences, thoughts, feelings, emotions, fantasies, and dreams. I have chosen one book and a movie. In a book, it talks about James, who is a main character of the story. He was really confused about his identity because he was a black and his mother was a white. In a movies, they showed the racism and differences create between students in their childhood. Both of these based on true stories. I would compare these character with Marxism and Freud’s theory. A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother is the autobiography of James McBride. It is also a tribute to his mother. It starts of the narrator James’s mother Ruth, who describes her early life with her family. She was born in Polish Orthodox Jewish family that was immigrant to United States. She had a repressed childhood in Virginia. She was sexually abused as a child from her father. In critical theory today: a user friendly guide, Tyson defines Fear of abandonment—“the unshakable belief that our friends and loved ones are going to desert us (physical abandonment) or don’t really care about us (emotional abandonment)” (Tyson 16). Tyson also comment on this definition if fear of abandonment is my core issue, I am liable to develop fear of intimacy as a core issue as well. “When we look at the world through a psychoanalytic lens, we see that it is comprised of individual human beings, each with a psychological history that begins in childhood experiences in the family and each with patterns of adolescent and adult behavior that are the direct result of that early experience” (Tyson 12). According to psychoanalytic theory, family is very important as we are a product of the role we are given up in family complex. Her father was an Orthodox rabbi named Fishel Shilsky. Ruth says he was as "hard as a rock. As mention in critical theory today: a user friendly guid, Traditional gender roles cast men as rational, strong, protective, and decisive; they cast women as emotional (irrational), weak, nurturing, and submissive” (Tyson 85). Mamah never felt love or affection from Tateh (the Yiddish word for father). Mamah was mild and meek, in part as a result of polio, from which she suffered her entire life. She was a patriarchal woman. For instance, Tyson explain it clearly that by patriarchal woman I mean, of course, a woman who has internalized the norms and values of patriarchy which can be defined, in short, as any culture that privileges men by promoting traditional gender roles (Tyson 85). They had arranged marriage. When Tateh failed as a rabbi, he opened a grocery store in Black area. Tateh, was racist, and overcharged his black customers. Ruth resisted her father's prejudices and sympathized with the black people in her town. This violation resulted not only in a loveless father-daughter relationship, but also in Ruth's overall low self- esteem. Despite the horror of the relationship with her father, she points out that she also has vivid positive memories of her childhood, particularly of the preparation for and celebration of Jewish holidays with her mother. After graduating from high school, Ruth moved to New York City and began working in her aunt's leather-goods factory. After that, she fell in love, and in 1942 she married a black man named Andrew McBride. By the time Ruth learned that her mother had died, she had been disowned, considered to be "dead" by her Jewish family. She converted to Christianity to deal with her feelings of grief and guilt, and ultimately found a new life in the religion. She and Andrew raised seven children. Andrew McBride died when Ruth was still pregnant with James. Then Ruth remarried a man named Hunter Jordan, who became like a father to James, and gave Ruth four more children.
While growing up, James McBride never knew where his mother had come from. When he asked her if she was white, she simply replied that she was "light-skinned", triggering a long-standing confusion about his own racial identity. Ruth's statement that "God is the color of water" succinctly captures Ruth's attitudes toward race and religion. Ruth believes that race occupies a secondary role to goodness and achievement. She believes that no matter one's race, hard work determines worth. She believes that God loves all races equally, and that goodness and devotion, not a certain race or class, make people worthy of God's grace. James's early life coincided with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and he encountered the symbols and rhetoric of black power. This societal force left him conflicted over love for his mother and the desire to feel solidarity with his peers and neighbors. James discusses the sense of aimlessness he experienced in college and in the professional world. He remained certain of his passion for both writing and music, and eventually realized they were not mutually exclusive professions. His mixed race kept haunting him, manifesting itself in his behavior in the workplace and in his personal life. After floundering around in various jobs, never completely satisfied, James realized that his professional crisis related to his identity crisis. In pursuing her past, visiting Suffolk, and interviewing his mother, he offers the reader a stunning window into the life of a woman and a family that suffered and triumphed, transcending divisions of race and religion in favor of love, family, friendship, and community - powers that bridge the basic human desire to understand how another has come to be the way that they are.
Based on actual diary accounts of several teenagers following the L.A. riots, “Freedom Writers” is the story of an idealistic teacher’s attempts to make a difference in the lives of her at-risk students. The movie Freedom Writers takes place in Long Beach, California. A young teacher, Erin Gruwell, takes her first job at Wilson High School. Most of the students that attend Wilson High are gang members and juvenile delinquents where not even the teachers have faith in them. At first the students hate being in the classroom and don’t listen to anything Mrs. Gruwell tries to teach them. Most of Mrs. Gruwell’s students are more concerned with their place in the war that is happening between the races than sitting in a classroom. However, she finally captures their attention by talking about the Holocaust. She then asks them to write in a journal every day. The students start off defending their violent actions in the war, but slowly start talking about their families and more personal problems. The classroom eventually becomes a home to them and the students become a family. It is a place where they can be themselves. The students finally get a voice when they put their journals together into a book, called Freedom Writers.
There are a couple of historical events discussed in this movie. The one covered the most was the Holocaust. They took a trip to a Holocaust museum where they learned many different things about the Holocaust and the camps. They were able to learn all about a specific child, what happened to that child and whether they lived or died in the camps. Then they read the book Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. The students also had a chance to talk to Holocaust survivors and listen to the story of Miep Gies, one of the people that helped hide Anne Frank and her family. This experience really made them think about how the violence in their own lives was starting to get out control. That was the real turning point in the movie. They also discuss the Freedom ride, a bus that drove around town where blacks sat in the front and whites sat in the back. They also watched an interview of one person that rode on the bus and offered to get off the bus first even though there was a crowd of people waiting for them. He was badly beaten when he got off the bus. This story really affected the only white kid in class. He could relate to that person because of the courage that person showed by getting off the bus first. The white kid showed courage by staying in the class even though the other kids showed nothing but hatred towards him at first. This is what inspired the title they gave the book the kids wrote, The Freedom Writers. The school didn’t support the students anyway. Even though, the teachers didn’t want to help the students in anyway succeed and their families didn’t care about schools. The only thing their families care about how to win the war for their race. For Marxism, “the family is not the source of the individual’s psychological identity, for both the individual and the family are products of material/historical circumstances” (Tyson 64). The family unconsciously carries out the cultural “program” in raising its children, but that program is produced by the socioeconomic culture within which the family operates. In this movie, each student’s character reflects the Marxism. How they grew up and involve in gangs. Mrs Gruwell helped the students with personal problems and talked to them like people. Also she listened to what they were saying and wanted to learn more about students. She spent a lot of her own money on books and trips that they took and it got the students interested in studies. The students didn’t have a voice before, and they always did what they were told to do. In the school, teachers did not want to deal with them and in the world they were fighting and killing. Writing gave them a way to say what they really felt and shows their overcoming obstacles and fears in their lives to succeed. In conclusion, Ruth - The central figure of the memoir, she is the tough but big-hearted mother of James and eleven other children. A Polish Jewish immigrant, she is spiritual, intelligent, determined, practical, and brave. She stresses the importance of work, school, and God. She chose an unconventional life, and succeeds in it because she has the grit and conviction to endure hardship. According to psychoanalyst, Freud “ The unconscious is the storehouse of those painful experiences and emotions, those wounds, fears, guilty desires, and unresolved conflicts we do not want to know about because we feel we will be overwhelmed by them” (Tyson 12). In the movies, as shown all characters went through different strategies and struggle for what they didn’t know directly oppose to Marxism ideology. For Marxism, “an ideology is a belief system, and all belief systems are products of cultural conditioning. For example, capitalism, communism, Marxism, patriotism, religion, ethical systems, humanism, environmentalism, astrology, and karate are all ideologies” (Tyson 56).

Work cite McBridge, James. The color water. New York: the Berkley Publishing Group, 1996. Print. Tyson, Lois. critical theory today: a user friendly guide. New York: Tylor Francis Group, 2006. Print

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