October 13, 2006

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.

Posted by linzsmit at 02:00 PM | Comments (3)

October 05, 2006

Lindsey's Oedipus Quote Commentary

“Good words
for someone careful, afraid he’ll fall.
But a mind like lightning
stumbles.� (Sophocles, Oedipus the King, pg. 51)

This passage is said by the Leader after Oedipus had accused Kreon of murdering Laios. The interesting part of this passage is, “a mind like lightning stumbles.� The leader is comparing the human mind with a quick, powerful force of nature. The leader is therefore implying that a quick, brilliant, and powerful mind can actually lead one to stumble. Stumbling is a human act of missing a step. Stumbling of the mind can occurs when one’s thought process misses a key point or idea. This passage is interesting because it brings up a theme of knowledge in the play. Even a mind that is powerful and brilliant, like lightning, can err. Oedipus has a brilliant mind because he is able to solve the riddle of the sphinx. He further shows his knowledge by actively pursuing the truth to the plague of Thebes. However, his mind like lightning is oblivious to his own fate, and therefore stumbles.

Posted by linzsmit at 09:34 PM | Comments (4)

September 18, 2006

Lindsey's Quote Commentary

Lindsey Smith
CompLit240 Section 004

“The witnesses as you remark, agreed about the gruff voice; they were unanimous. But in regard to the shrill voice, the peculiarity is-not that they disagreed- but that, while an Italian, an Englishman, a Spaniard, a Hollander, and a Frenchman attempted to describe it, each one spoke of it as that of a foreigner. Each is sure that it was not the voice of his own countrymen.� -Edgar Allen Poe, Murders in the Rue Morgue, pg 415.

This passage alludes to the character Dupin’s power of observation that go beyond those of the common man. Dupin is able to trace the murderer’s voice and abundance of agility to an Ourang-Outang, which in most cases is a far stretch from reality. To most, it would seem illogical to think the voice of a murderer may not have come from a human. It is with Dupin’s capability of examination and exploration that enables him to solve a case that was once labeled as impossible.

Posted by linzsmit at 10:39 PM | Comments (3)