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The Psychology of Jane Eyre

The Psychology of Jane Eyre

Non-Freudian explanations

Mainly relevant to first two chapters

Freudian explanations

Relevant to whole novel

Non-Freudian explanations

Particular to the first two chapters

Modelling
Modelling - copying adults behaviour
Reed children model mothers behaviour

Learning from observation

Fight or Flight
Flight - Jane usually hides behind the
curtain
Fight - when badly hit by John she fights.
Adrenaline - Autonomic response
Arousal reduced by either Fight or Flight.

Our response to threat

THREAT

Slide
1.7

Obedience to Authority
Milgram - Potentially lethal electric shocks
to a stranger.
Servants do not support Jane.
They are obedient to Mrs Reed.

Obedience to Authority
Behavior that is
unthinkable in an
individual who is
acting on her own
may be executed
without hesitation
when carried out
under orders.

Milgram:
Touch Proximity: Victim
received a shock only
when the victims hand
rested on a shock plate.
The teacher had to force
his hand on it. Required
physical contact with the
victim.

Unconditioned Stimulus

Unconditioned Response

Unconditioned Stimulus

Neutral Stimulus

Unconditioned Response

Unconditioned Stimulus

Neutral Stimulus

Unconditioned Response

Conditioned Stimulus

Conditioned Response

Rats
Dogs
Bunnies
Santa Claus
Coats

Classical Conditioning
The Red Room
Janes uncle (Mrs Reeds husband) died
here.
Ghost appears and Jane is frightened
Red room elicits fear in Jane
Women shut away in rooms

Labelling theory

Jane feels that she is labelled by Mrs Reed as:

useless
noxious

and not

brilliant
handsome
romping, etc

Modified Labeling Approach

Societal
Conceptions of
What it Means
To Have a
Mental Illness

Labeling:
Conceptions
Become
Personally
Relevant

Not Labeled
Societal
Conceptions
Not Relevant
to Self

Labeled Persons
Response
Secrecy,
Withdrawal etc.

No
Consequences
Due to Labeling

Negative
Consequences
Self-esteem,
Networks

Vulnerability to
Chronicity

Perceptual priming
In the red room
Jane thinks of the dead coming back from the
grave when their dying wishes have not been
carried out.
Then a moving light is seen as a ghost
The grown-up Jane (writing) believes it was
most likely a lantern being carried across the
lawn.

Priming
Pass

out demonstration sheets

Priming demonstration

Unscramble the following word:

L T

E PA

Answer:

PE TAL
P LAT E

Priming
Why

did half the class say plate


and the other half say petal?
They were primed to do so
There were two different sheets of
unscrambled words

Priming sheet 1

Unscramble the following


word:

INEK
O P O N S
K R O F
P U C
E C U S A R
L T E P A

Answer:

KNIFE
SPOON
FORK
CUP
S AU C E R
P LAT E

Priming sheet 2

Unscramble the following


word:

YPAS
F E L A
K T A L S
D U B
L O B S O M S
L T E P A

Answer:

PAN S Y
LE AF
S TALK
BUD
BLOSSOM
PE TAL

Freudian explanations

Relevant to whole novel

The Ego and Mechanisms of


Defense (1936) Anna Freud

Repression
Displacement
Denial
Projection
Reaction Formation
Intellectualization
Rationalization
Undoing
Sublimation
Identification with the
Agressor

The Ego deals with Id, Superego,


and Reality by:

1. Secondary process

2. Defense mechanisms

Ideal, but especially for children not always


possible
Sometimes, the best anyone can do. But can be
used maladaptively

3. Symptoms (neurotic)

Last resort, things are bad when you have to


use these

Three types of anxiety

Neurotic Anxiety

Moral Anxiety

Fear of being overwhelmed by unacceptable Id


impulses [Ego vs. Id]
Fear of being punished by the Superego [Ego
vs. Superego]

Reality Anxiety

Fear of danger in the outside world [Ego vs.


Reality]

Repression
The most basic defense mechanism
The use of anti-cathexis to keep a memory
or wish from becoming conscious
Repression is a component of almost every
other defense mechanism

Most defense mechanism = repression + .

Repression

Gateshead from family

Lowood from an institution

Thornfield from within a relationship

Moor House from within

Ferndean - release from repression

Repression

Rochester locks Bertha in the attic and tries


to forget he has a wife.

Vagina Dentata

Victorian morality tale


but myth is found in
many cultures
Sex with strange
women is dangerous
Freud - vagina - men
are reminded of
castration / also seen
as mouth.

Vagina Dentata

Rochester has had at least


one mistress and is
metaphorically bitten by
losing her to another
man.
Bertha wounds Mason
and becomes a Vagina
Dentata
Sexual repression - St
John Rivers

Displacement
The second most basic defense mechanism
Definition: The transfer of psychic energy
from a repressed object-cathexis to a more
acceptable object
The more acceptable object will in some
way be associated with (usually resembling)
the original object
Seen in phobias

Displacement in Jane Eyre


Rooms - not connected by plot but by emotions
Emotions are displaced onto the rooms
Red Room - Jane is locked into when a child
Room next to Berthas - whilst left alone to
tend Mason
Berthas room - Bertha is locked and
becomes(?) mad.

Displacement in Jane Eyre


For transgressing the limits of proper
female behaviour
Jane is imprisoned by John Reed (via his
mother)
Bertha is imprisoned by Rochester
Emotions: Fear, Hysteria, Madness and
Claustrophobia.

Projection
Attributing an unacceptable thought or feeling or
your own to someone else instead of yourself
This involves repression, plus an additional factor
Ego senses something unacceptable from
somewhere, but convinces self it is external
Changes neurotic anxiety into reality anxiety
Seen in paranoia

Projection
Projection - Mrs Reed - Jane should be
more sociable and childlike.
Is John Reed sociable and childlike?
Why does Mrs Reed spoil her children?
Part of the reason why Mrs Reed puts Jane
down.
If Jane is Bad then my children are good

Undoing
Performing a ritualistic act to undo an
unacceptable act or thought
Janes fugue or flight from Rochester after
she nearly entered into a bigamous
marriage.

Sublimation

Two definitions of sublimation

Displacement of an impulse to a completely socially


acceptable, socially approved outlet
A displacement which discharges all the psychic
energy bound up in the original impulse
successfully
Jane could have sublimated her desire for Rochester
by becoming a missionarys wife but instead finds
spiritual meaning in human experience.

Sublimation
Perhaps Bront is sublimating her wish to
criticize Victorian attitudes to women by
writing Jane Eyre. A more acceptable
activity.
Although many men then believed that
writing was an inappropriate activity for
women!

Identification with the Aggressor


Anna Freud named this one as a defense
mechanism
The basis of the resolution of the Oedipus
Complex
Jane enters into a sadomasochistic
relationship with Rochester.

Split Personality
Unable to face up to trauma so personality
is split.
One personality can comment upon how the
other has been affected by trauma.
Disassociation

Multiple Personality Disorder


Presence of two or more distinct identities,
each with its own unique, and enduring way
of relating to the world or self
At least two of these identities recurrently
take control of the persons behavior
An inability to recall important personal
information to an extent that is more than
ordinary forgetfulness

Causes
Childhood trauma usually sexual abuse
before age 5
Experts believe alter arises to protect person
from overwhelming memories and protect
secrets from outsiders

Case Study: Eve


Thigpen and Cleckley, 1953
Rooted from traumatic events witnessed
growing up in South during Depression
Eve White wife and mother; Eve Black
party girl; Jane mature intellectual
Total of 22 personalities

Case Study: Sybil

True name Shirley Mason


Set the standard for MPD as a
syndrome rooted in child abuse
16 separate personalities all having
unique talents and characteristics,
such as piano playing or having
British accent; some were male
Dr. Wilbur Freudian psychologist
1998 several publications exposed
Sybil case as scam
Dr. Herbert Spiegel - only multiple
personality in psychoanalytic
setting; just extremely suggestible
hysteric
To ensure the book deal, Sybil had
to be multiple; Dr. Wilburs archives
will be opened in 2005

Split Personality
Jane is the good woman who participates in
the Victorian patriarchal society without
rocking the boat too much for most of the
book.
Bertha is the bad woman locked in the attic.
The attic is rather like the unconscious mind
Rochester is suppressing a memory that pains
him.

Split Personality
Is Bertha Bad?
By modern standards?
Compared with Rochester?
People who do not fit into society (or are bad)
are labelled mad.
Bront is using this split to criticise in a more
acceptable form the treatment of women.
(Sublimation?)

Castration complex
Part of little boys psychosexual
development.
As a punishment for loving mother, father
threatens castration
Resolved by the boy identifying with father.

Castration complex
Early stage of Rochesters life
Nave marriage to Bertha
Expecting Victorian norms of behaviour
Bertha could have been a mother substitution for
Rochester
Bertha rebels
Divorce not possible
Locks her away

Castration complex
Rochester expecting his wife to be like his
mum
Rochester expects Jane to be subservient too
Sadomasochistic relationship between
Rochester and Jane
Until Rochester is maimed in the fire
He is castrated

Castration complex
Jane can enjoy a future marriage based on
equanimity and mutual understanding and
respect.
Bront like Austen commented on the
subservient role of women of their day.

Changing view of Bertha


Bront could not directly attack these
values so used Jane and Bertha to get the
message across.
Message was too subtle for many Victorians
Bertha seen as bad
Modern age could see Bertha in new light
Jean Rhys' novel Wide Sargasso Sea.

Thank you for listening