October 13, 2006
Monika's Quote Commentary on Dora
“He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his finger-tips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore. And thus the task of making conscious the most hidden recesses of the mind is one which it is quite possible to accomplish.” (pg 69)
This quote is part of Freud’s discussion on symptomatic acts (acts which people often do unconsciously, but which are significant expressions of the unconscious) after he notices Dora fiddling with her reticule. In the first sentence the word “mortal” emphasizes the fact that in undeliberate exposure of the unconscious is a natural thing, so much so that it is an unavoidable fact of life for all mortals. The word mortal is powerful here because it conveys something all-encompassing and all-inclusive, namely something that needs only the requirement of being mortal to occur. The second sentence derives a lot of meaning from the word “chatters.” Usually when someone is chattering, he or she is casually talking and not paying much attention to what they are revealing. This helps to describe Freud’s ability to see “chatter” when the person’s “lips are silent.” The word “betrayal” makes the reader think that we are not in control when it comes to hiding our unconscious and can be betrayed by our own selves. The last sentence shows Freud’s confidence in his abilities to unmask these hidden thoughts by acting like a detective and putting together all the small clues and actions which a person shows which consequently serve to betray his or her unconscious thoughts.
Sam's Entry on Freud's Dora
"An attempt must first be made by the roundabout methods of analysis to convince the patient herself of the existence in her of an intention to be ill." Dora, pg. 38
This quotation contains a very interesting mix of words that lend themselves to feelings of certainty and those that impart a very unsure feeling. First, Freud uses the term “attempt”, which already suggests that his intended result may or may not occur. He then says that these attempts are made by “roundabout methods”. In the thesaurus, the term “roundabout” has the word “roughly” as a synonym and “exactly” as its opposite. I found this to be intriguing because the dictionary definition of “analysis” is “The action of taking something apart in order to study it”. Now, it would appear to me that taking something apart to study it should be performed in a more exact fashion than “roundabout”. Next, Freud mentions that his goal is to “convince” the patient that there “exists in her” an “intention to be ill”. I found this to be a little bit odd because Freud sets up a situation in which an outsider (himself) wants to get his patient (Dora) to accept that what he is telling her about her own being is correct and therefore that he knows more about Dora than she knows about herself. The term “exists” lends me to think of something living. Freud’s theories of the id, ego, and superego are amost treated as such in many circumstances. Therefore, this “intention” to be ill could arguably be the id or, as he refers to it in this case, the “unconscious”.
Jenny's Quote Commentary on Freud
“He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his finger-tips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore. And thus the task of making conscious the most hidden recesses of the mind is one which is quite possible to accomplish.” – Sigmund Freud, Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria p. 69
This quote occurs within Freud’s analysis of Dora’s first dream as a way of explaining how he arrives at his conclusions about the significance of each aspect of the dream. Freud attributes symbolic meaning to the physical actions of the characters within the dream due to his belief that the enigmas of the unconscious can be decoded by the observation of outward expressions. The forbidden nature of the unconscious is expressed with the words ‘secret,’ ‘hidden,’ and ‘betrayal.’ The thoughts are deemed illicit by society’s unwillingness to acknowledge them in polite conversation. Much like the detectives we have encountered in the course thus far, Freud suggests that his ability to decipher aspects of the unconscious comes from his strong observational powers. He states that he has ‘eyes to see and ears to hear,’ making the interpretation of the physical expressions of hysterical symptoms ‘quite possible.’ Finally, Freud’s notion of the fluid action of transference in delivering unconscious thoughts to the conscious can be observed in his description of how the symptoms ‘ooze’ from the patient in a liquid form of enlightenment. This passage is significant in its ability to describe Freud’s rationalization of his interpretation of hysteria.
Charina's Quote Commentary of "Dora"
"For a long time I was in perplexity as to what the self-reproach could be which lay behind her passionate repudiation of this explanation of the episode. It was justifiable to suspect that there was something concealed, for a reproach which misses the mark gives no lasting offence." pg. 39
This quote occurs while Freud is setting up the background of Dora's story and talking about her relationship with her Father. This quote is significant in that it's symbolic of her course of treatment and her feelings toward Freud's treatment. Whenever Freud suggests an analysis of a story or dream, she emphatically denies his analysis and then later will slowly admit to his truths. Dora's father made her go to see Freud, and thus she may be reluctant to participate in his psychoanalysis. For this reason, Dora will want to disagree with his analysis and will conceal those things which she mentions to Freud. As his analysis progresses and he delves into her life and thoughts more, she probably feels even more reluctant to share perhaps out of embarrassment of her repressed thoughts.
Lindsey Smith's Commentary on Freud
“The hysterical symptom does not carry this meaning with it, but the meaning is lent to it, welded to it, as it were; and in every instance the meaning can be a different one, according to the nature of the suppressed thoughts which are struggling for expressing.” (Sigmund Freud, Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria, pg. 34)
This passage is found when Freud is explaining hysterical symptoms. He states that the capacity for the symptoms to repeat is a characteristic of a hysterical symptom. Those hysterical symptoms have psychical, or mental, significance. He then says the psychical meaning is “lent to it” or “welded to it”. I think these lines are interesting because they are giving physical characteristics to the suppressed thoughts. He also says the suppressed thoughts are “struggling for expression”. He again is giving mental thoughts a physical expression. This passage also shows how Freud can be considered a detective because he looks for the meaning of the suppressed thoughts which struggle for expression in Dora’s hysterical symptoms. This is complicated because in the passage he says the meanings can be different for each hysterical symptom. In this sense, he is investigating Dora’s symptoms to reconstruct the meaning of her suppressed thoughts. This also shows the contrast between discovering meaning and reconstructing meaning. Freud is reconstructing meaning because he can’t see what he is looking for; he must use what he knows about her symptoms and find their connections to suppressed thoughts.
Grant's Quote Commentary on Dora
"A periodically recurrent dream was by its very nature particularly well calculated to arouse my curiosity; and in any case it was justifiable in the interests of the treatment to consider the way in which the dream worked into the analysis as a whole. I therefore determined to make an especially careful investigation of it" (Freud 56).
In the passage, Freud details the method in which he examines Dora's dream. Freud goes on to mention the fact that he interprets the dream given his already forming hypothesis about what is ailing Dora. This, once again, is Freud letting his hubris take over. Instead of taking the dream at face value (whether he examined its latent content or not), Freud melds his interpretation of the dream into what he already believes of Dora. Whether or not this discredits Freud's methods, I feel this passage says something more about Freud than Dora. Freud always reiterating his genius was almost necessary at the time of his publishing. He was insecure because he was just one psychoanalyst trying to convert an entire discipline to radically change their core beliefs. It's easy to understand why Freud was so boisterous. The interesting thing about this text is that it's a case study about a person that, at times, can say more about the practitioner than the patient.
Alyssa's Quote Commentary on Freud
“…the information I receive is never enough to let me see my way about the case. This first account may be compared to an unnavigable river whose stream is at one moment choked by masses of rock and at another divided and lost among shallows and sandbanks. I cannot help wondering how it is that the authorities can produce such smooth and exact histories in cases of hysteria.” (Freud 10)
Dora reveals her side of the story because Freud has already heard what her father has to say. However, neither of these two variations pleases Freud; he trusts his own processes and interpretations. Freud is similar to other detectives that we have studied, including Holmes and Dupin. The “information” (clues) that Freud receives, as a medical “detective,” is not enough to help him solve the case; he has to apply his own intuition. His arrogance (“let me see my way about the case”) and dissatisfaction with authorities (he does not concur with their “smooth and exact histories”) is like Holmes’ and Dupin’s independence of the police.
Dora’s case is like the “unnavigable river” because, in a way, Freud is “along for the ride.” Although he claims superior knowledge throughout this study, he has no control over the outcome. Dora’s memory, like the river, is “choked by masses of rock,” and sexual thoughts have been repressed (“divided and lost among shallows and sandbanks”).
Freud, like Oedipus, is at a crossroads with Dora’s story on one side and her fathers on the other. Yet, he plunges onward with his own opinions, and is essentially defeated in the end because Dora stops treatment.
Laura's commentry of Freud
“I do not know what kind of help she wanted from me, but I promised to forgive her for having deprived me of the satisfaction of according her a far more radical cure for her troubles.” Dora: An Analysis of a case of Hysteria, Sigmund Freud (pg.112)
As this work is so titled “An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria,” the focus was not Dora, but analyzing the disease, hysteria, from which she and others suffer; the evidence of the analysis happens to be the particular case involving the girl Dora. Freud writes, “I don’t know what […] she wanted from me,” which underlies the fact that Dora was the only one who could receive a personal benefit of this treatment, and that Freud was strictly analyzer through whom the treatment was delivered. Though Freud does not intentionally make this parallel, his analysis of Dora is very similar to analysis completed by any scientific researcher. The researcher does not have any personal stakes in the matter other than their own satisfaction of discovery or understanding of their subject. This is exactly how Freud describes his interest in Dora, the “satisfaction of according her a […] cure…” And the fact that Dora “deprived” Freud of this satisfaction is analogous to a researcher feeling disgruntled at not being able to complete his research because his employer broke off his funding for the research.
So this case happens to be that of the girl named Dora, but the focus is on Freud as an analyst and his own report of his experience of his work and theory.
Marquita's commentary on Freud
"...All such collections of the strange and wonderful phenomena of hysteria have but slightly advanced our knowledge of a disease which still remains as great a puzzle as ever. What is wanted is precisely an elucidation of the commonest cases and of their most frequent and typical symptoms". Freud p.17
This passage discusses a theme that has been found in a variety of the works we have studied this semester; that is the difficulty in understanding the commonplace. Freud makes the point that people often become too caught up in the cases that seem most extraordinary. They think that because a case is unusual, that automatically means it is most important. This same situation occured in the detective stories of Sherlock Holmes, through the character of Dupin. Dupin often commented that people were unable to solve certain cases because they were convinced that the answer to the mystery would have to be something extraordinary/unusual. Because of this, people oftentimes overlooked the answer to the mystery merely because it seemed too "obvious". Freud connects with this theme because he feels that in studying the case of Dora, a case that on the surface seems commonplace, he might be able to find the answer to the mystery of hysteria.
Emma Morris Freud Commentary
“The patients’ inability to give an ordered history of their life in so far as it coincides with the history of their illness is not merely characteristic of neurosis. It also possesses great theoretical significance. For this inability has the following grounds. In the first place, patients consciously and intentionally keep back part of what they ought to tell – things that are perfectly well known to them – because they have not got over their feelings of timidity and shame (or discretion, where what they say concerns other people); this is the share taken by conscious disingenuousness.” Sigmund Freud, Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria p.10
This quotation occurs toward the beginning of Freud’s exposition of Dora’s case history. Freud establishes his account of hysteria in the context of its essential failure: not only did Dora leave treatment, she also – consciously or unconsciously – omitted critical parts of her story. Dora’s inability to tell her story wholly exemplifies the human inability to turn ours gazes inward, an analogy that can be drawn to the alleged collective nature of Oedipus’s plight. Freud speaks of this “conscious disingenuousness” in theoretical and overtly medical terms – however, his decision to frame Dora’s illness as a narrative provides deeper implications for this project: as a narrative, psychological motivations and deletions become objectified and subject to narratorial voyeurism or vicariousness. In this sense, Dora’s shame regarding her hysterical or somatic symptoms and her past, including her omissions is fit into Freud’s narrative in order to render it accessible, edifying, and universal.