Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ford and Freud

Like most other modernist novels, there is an underlying Freudian theory throughout Ford's work. In fact, the three main characters in Some Do Not could even represent the three agencies of the human personality.

Sylvia as the Id: The Id is described as being "the psychic content related to the primitive instincts of the body, notably sex and aggression..." (Id). Sylvia is a character of the flesh as she has had many affairs with other men. She also acquires the aggresson of the Id through her constant outbursts; she even admits to her family priest of entertaining thoughts of stabbig Christopherin the eye with a fork. As Brian explained in his character sketch: "Although she is physically attracted to Christopher, her main objective is to crush him..." The Id is also known for adhearing to the "pleasure-pain principle." This suggests that "its impulses either seeking immediate fulfillment or settling for a compromising fulfillment" (Id). Like the Id, Sylvia follows this principle as she can be seen as a sexual sadist. Like her relationship with Christopher, Drake and Perowne she knowingly hurts them and takes pleasure in their pain.

Valentine as the Ego: The ego is describes as being the portion of personality that has an idea of self or "I." It is "the part that remembers, evaluates, plans, and in other ways is responsive to and acts in the surrounding physical and social world" (Ego). Valentine best describes the ego because of her constant self evaluation throughout Some Do Not. She falls in love with Christopher and imagines herself with him but, through her self awareness and realization of her views on chastity and propriety, she chooses not to break her own code of conduct. It is important to note, however, that she does in fact think about Christopher and admit to herself that she is in love with him despite the social code of conduct with married men of another class. This then proves her selfhood. Finally, the ego acts and interacts in the social world through perception. This perception has "continuity and consistency to behaviour by providing a personal point of reference which relates the events of the past...with actions of the present and of the future" (Ego). Relating this to the text, Mrs Wannop can be seen as Valentines perception, in which she interacts with the outside world. For the most part, Valentine is self aware and makes her own decision but her mother is the most important person in her life as she grounds Valentine and provides her with a moral compass. This is also seen in A Man Could Stand Up when Valentine is reunited with Christopher and before deciding whether or not to become his mistress, she must consult with her mother first.

Christopher as the Super-Ego: Christopher completes this model of the human personality by representing the Super Ego. The Super Ego is described as being "the ethical component of the personality and provides the moral standards by which the ego operates" (Super Ego). As Brian explains, Christopher is the “son of a Yorkshire country nobleman,” maintaining a code of morals based on tradition (5). He exemplifies Toryism and English propriety and reflects on his social traditions while making any decision. He constanly refers to himself as "a seventeenth century man" -- this being "the only satisfactory age in England." (21).

-Darcy Broatch

"Ego" Encyclopedia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 4 Apr. 2007. .

"Id" Encyclopedia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 4 Apr. 2007 .

"Super Ego" Encyclopedia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 4 Apr. 2007. .

Ford, Ford Madox. Parade's End. London: Penguin, 2002.

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