October 20, 2006

Alyssa's 2nd Commentary on Freud

Alyssa Roehmer
CompLit 240.004
"Dora"

“The right attitude is: “pour faire une omelette il faut casser des oeufs.? The patients themselves are easy to convince; and there are only too many opportunities of doing so in the course of the treatment? (Freud 42).

Freud says, “To make an omelet, you have to break some eggs.? Significantly, Freud discusses topics like sexuality and “cracks? the perfect “shell? below which society represses its thoughts. However, “breaking? eggs is a messy process. The shell often becomes completely smashed, and pieces may fall into the mixture. Freud’s analysis is also a somewhat messy process, because in the end, the treatment does fall apart.

Detectives and repairmen dismantle broken objects, find problems, and then put them back together. In the case of eggs, there is no way to put them back together. The mention of “eggs? is also interesting in the sense of a female “egg,? and the idea that patriarchal authority in society suppresses women’s rights.

Freud’s confidence in himself as an analyst is seen through his satisfaction in little victories, like “convincing? Dora that he ultimately knows her better than she knows herself. Freud refers to the patriarchal qualities of Dora’s father when he says, “‘…she had been virtually handed over to Herr K…as the price of tolerating the relations between her father and Frau K? (xvi). Yet, he himself demonstrates the overbearingly authoritative qualities that he denounces when he “convinces? (overpowers) Dora.

Posted by romie at 07:03 PM | Comments (0)

October 13, 2006

Alyssa's Quote Commentary on Freud

Alyssa Roehmer
Section 004
"Dora"

“…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.

Posted by romie at 01:28 PM | Comments (4)

October 06, 2006

Alyssa's Quote Commentary on Oedipus

Alyssa Roehmer
CompLit Sec 004
"Oedipus the King"

Chorus: “Oedipus I have said this many times
I would be mad helpless to give advice
If I turned against you now
Once
You took our city in her storm of pain
Straightened her course found fair weather
O lead her to safety now
If you can? (Sophocles 55, lines 915-922)


Oedipus cannot stop, and he cannot be stopped. He is like a ship on autopilot, so while he has a hand in his fate, his course is nonetheless pre-determined. When the plague is upon Thebes like a storm, Oedipus, being the great hero and “problem-solver? that he is, is confident that he can save the city and again “find fair weather.? Despite warnings to stop seeking the truth, Oedipus plunges onward, trying to take control of the “ship? manually. Oedipus feels the necessity to be the determining force in his own fate (“ship?) and is also alluded to as the captain of the “ship? (otherwise known as Thebes) that is headed for disaster. Ironically, it is a disaster toward which he is intent upon sailing. The chorus expects that Oedipus can lead the city through her “storm of pain? to safety because he solved the riddle of the Sphinx, but in the end, Oedipus is exiled and essentially “thrown overboard? from the ship he once guided.

This fits nicely with the Greeks’ beliefs that the sea is untamed. Sophocles references this later in the play when Oedipus says, “…what tide breaks over my life?? (Sophocles 84), and clearly Oedipus is no match for the god that controls the sea.

Posted by romie at 04:07 PM | Comments (4)

September 18, 2006

Alyssa's Quote Commentary on Poe

Alyssa Roehmer
CompLit 240.004
"Murders in the Rue Morgue," by Edgar Allen Poe

Dupin said, "Thus there is such a thing as being too profound. Truth is not always in a well. In fact, as regards the more important knowledge, I do believe that she is invariably superficial. The depth lies in the valleys where we seek her, and not upon the mountain-tops where she is found."("Rue Morgue," 412)

With the wrong man in prison, and the police’s futile search for the person who committed the “Murders in the Rue Morgue,? Dupin is the only one who has the insight to see what is right in front of everyone.

In this quote, Dupin underlines a unique, yet significant comparison between “the deep? and the “shallow," painting a vivid picture of "vertical distances." He surprises the reader by saying that, oftentimes, people are too thorough (“profound?) in their investigations. Our attention is immediately directed to the vision of truth “not always in a well,? emphasizing his point that the answer is not always as buried, or intricate as it may seem, and personifying “truth? as physical thing—something we can touch. Moreover, the reality is that the “she? is "superficial" (consistently placed plainly “upon the surface"). The reason Poe personifies truth by giving her the life-like characteristics of a woman, or a “she,? is not developed later in the story. However, Dupin re-emphasizes his "vertical distance" analogy through the example of "valleys" and "mountains" in that the unnecessary plunge that people take into areas (“valleys?) that are beyond their reach is time wasted because in all actuality, the finding of “the more important knowledge? requires no digging at all.

Sayan's note: Ilana from my Section 003 has also written her quote-commentary on this same passage. It may be interesting to take a look at her commentary, which is here.

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