October 20, 2006
Jenny's 2nd Commentary on Freud
“She made it up with them, she took her revenge on them, and she brought her own business to a satisfactory conclusion.”
- Freud, Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria p. 111
This quote occurs at the end of the book to describe Dora’s confrontation with Frau and Herr K. in order to fulfill a personal vendetta. She does so by discussing her father’s affair with Frau K. and her experiences with Herr K. The significance of this quote is found in Dora’s ability to seek her own revenge and thus achieve a conclusion. By stating aloud her previously unconscious and repressed feelings concerning the events that have caused her so much turmoil, she frees herself from Freud’s definition of hysteria. The use and repetition of the pronoun ‘she’ describes Dora’s autonomy in order to combat her hysterical symptoms on her own. She finds a self-determined ‘satisfactory conclusion’ by way of her own actions. The fact that she is a female also counters the previously dominant ideology of patriarchy within her life. In a sense, this ‘revenge’ is her independent cure for her own hysteria. On Freud’s terms, he has given Dora the ability to identify and contest her hysterical position by giving her the tools to turn her gaze inward, battle the forbidden thoughts, and return to ‘normalcy.’
October 13, 2006
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.
October 06, 2006
Jenny's Quote Commentary on Oedipus
“I am afraid, afraid
Apollo’s prediction will come true, all of it,
as god’s sunlight grows brighter on a man’s face at dawn
when he’s in bed, still sleeping,
and reaches into his eyes and wakes him.” (p.68, lines 1273-1277)
Oedipus makes this statement in the presence of the messenger after he has discovered the death of Polybos and is reevaluating the truth of the prophecy.
This quote depicts Oedipus’ fear of discovering the inevitable truth of his past and future. He describes the appearance of light onto one’s eyes to metaphorically represent the acquisition of knowledge. Throughout the play, vocabulary describing light and brightness are used interchangeably with understanding, while the repetition of the word blind signifies the lack thereof. Oedipus relates his current state of informational blindness to that of a man sleeping with his eyes closed, thus shut off to reality. The sunlight comes to him slowly with increasing brightness, like the attainment of awareness that leads to Oedipus’ revelation. This quote also indicates Oedipus’ gradual loss of confidence and suspicion over his fate. The syntax of the passage causes Apollo’s prediction to be interpreted as a fact in addition to something that Oedipus fears by proclaiming its validity on a single line (1274). The fact that Oedipus will unravel the truth is as unavoidable as the occurrence of ‘god’s sunlight’ each morning. Oedipus can fear the truth, but he cannot evade its discovery.