October 13, 2006
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”.
October 06, 2006
Sam's Oedipus Quote Commentary
“LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT never again flood these eyes with your white radiance, oh gods, my eyes. All, all the oracles have proven true. I, Oedipus, I am the child of parents who should never have been mine—doomed!” Oedipus, Page 77
In the repetition of the word “light” in the first three words of the passage, it at first seems that Oedipus is begging for light. However, as one reads on, it becomes clear that rather than yearning for light, he forbidding it from gracing him with its presence. The adjective “white” is used to show purity and innocence while “radiance” can be thought of as almost a synonym for happiness and vivaciousness. Once he has found out his real history, Oedipus realizes that his own innocence and life are gone and can not stand to see the light anymore due to its stark contrast to his own existence. When he says that the oracles have been proven true, Oedipus is confirming that he knew of this prophecy and tried to run from it. In the next sentence, Oedipus speaks in almost parallel form to in the beginning when he once again overuses the first person saying, “I am king. I had to come....Everyone everywhere knows who I am: Oedipus. King.” However, at this point he is speaking from the standpoint of actually knowing his past and what he has done while in the beginning it was everyone else who knew who he was and not himself. Finally, Oedipus says that his parents should never have been his because he knew that his relationship with his blood parents was not a good or natural one. He therefore decides that they should have never been his parents in the first place because, as things played out, he betrayed them both as they did to him in the beginning of the whole story. His last word is simply “doomed” which implies that he was star-crossed from the beginning to end up where he did.
September 21, 2006
Sam's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" Commentary
"But, without educated thought, he erred continually by the very intensity of his investigations. He impaired his vision by holding the object too close. He might see, perhaps, one or two points with unusual clearness, but in so doing he, necessarily, lost sight of the matter as a whole." -The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Pg. 412
In the beginning of this quote, Dupin sets up a sort of a relationship between the other detective’s (Vidocq’s) errors and his intensity. Typically, we think of intensity as being of great help to an investigation but here, Dupin considers Vidocq’s sort of intensity as lacking in “educated thought” and therefore causing him to fail to solve the puzzle. As a person can not see the words on a page very well if the book is held too close to the face, Dupin argues that Vidocq’s ability to figure out what happened in a case was impaired by looking too closely at the case piece by piece, rather than stepping back. Dupin gives him credit in a sense because he recognizes that Vidocq was probably able to see some details very vividly but then goes back to his argument that it is often the big picture that really matters. I found this a little bit ironic, however, because in the end, Dupin solves the mystery of the murders by looking at the information very, very closely piece by piece and then using those pieces to put the big picture together. Perhaps he was able to get away with it where Vidocq was not because of his “educated thought” in looking at the details.