Today's post is by our intern Ben Kostyack, a senior at Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington D. C.
In English class this past week, my teacher handed each student a copy of The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss as we walked in. Some students reacted as if it were a copy of a George Orwell novel, and some students had a good laugh at it. None of us understood the reason for the books until my teacher wrote the word "psychoanalysis" on the board.
If you don’t know what psychoanalysis is, let me get you caught up. Sigmund Freud, an Austrian physician, developed this theory in the 1890s. In this theory, Freud explains that each person’s personality is formed of three parts: the Ego, the Superego, and the Id. Psychoanalysis is the process of using what we know about these three parts of someone’s personality to analyze the ways that person behaves.
The id is the part of the personality that contains our primitive impulses. It also controls our desire for instant gratification or release. Freud believed that the id is based on our pleasure principle. The id wants whatever feels good at the time, with no consideration for the other circumstances of the situation. The id is represented by the devil sitting on someone’s shoulder. The devil tells the person to do whatever brings them self pleasure.
The superego represents the angel sitting on the other shoulder. It represents the conscience, the moral part of us. It dictates our beliefs of right and wrong. The superego tells us how to act according to society and its wants and needs.
The Ego is the part of the personality that maintains the balance between our impulses (our id) and our conscience (our superego). It is the ego’s job to meet the needs of our primitive self and what is morally right. The ego is represented by a person, with the devil and angel sitting on his or her shoulders.
Using psychoanalysis in you writing can be a big help if you are struggling with character development. Creating characters that represent the Id, Superego, and Ego is an easy way to create a plot if you are struggling to do so. Even if the book you are writing is as simple as The Cat in the Hat, psychoanalysis can only help your story.