A Psychanalytic Interpretation Essay Research Paper Research

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A Psychanalytic Interpretation Essay, Research Paper Research Paper A Psychoanalytic Interpretation of Being John Malkovich By: William Crowell The idea of wanting to be someone else, the development of a child’s character, and the repression of certain traumatic childhood experiences are all at the heart of Freud’s psychoanalytic approach. Through my interpretation of Being John Malkovich I will discuss how these ideas have been represented in the movie. Being John Malkovich, by Spike Jonze, is the tale of a young struggling puppeteer who takes a job as a filing clerk in the downtown firm of LesterCorp. Behind a filing cabinet in his office he discovers a small portal that takes him inside the mind of actor John Malkovich. John Cusak plays puppeteer Craig Shwartz.

Craig’s wife, Lotte Shwartz, is played by Cameron Diaz and is an attendant in a local pet store. Craig falls in love with Maxine Lund, played by Catherine Keener, who also works at LesterCorp. After being rejected by Maxine, Craig informs her of the portal that he has found and the two begin a business venture of selling trips into Malkovich’s head for $200.00 a trip. Lotte takes a trip into Malkovich’s head and is immediately addicted to it. She wants to BE Malkovich all the time. Through her experience inside Malkovich, Lotte realizes that she is a transsexual and that she too is in love with Maxine. Maxine eventually tells the two that she is not attracted to Craig and that she is “smitten” with Lotte, but only when she is in Malkovich. The rest of the movie deals

with the trials and tribulations associated with both Lotte and Craig competing for control of Malkovich to ultimately win the love of Maxine. The first aspect of Freud’s psychoanalytic approach I will discuss is that of child development. Freud discusses the three stages of child development: the ID, Ego, and Super Ego. The id is man’s (generic meaning, referring to both sexes) instinctual, primitive, and hedonistic urges for pure pleasure, which the Id is bent on experiencing, without regard to any consequences. The super-ego is man’s senses of morality, first brought on by experiences with authoritative figures and parents, which basically hold ideas of what is right and wrong, and is almost a direct paradox to the id. The ego, which can be seen as the mediator between

the Id and the super-ego, takes into account the activities of the external world, and attempts to invoke some balance among all three parts of the mind, with failure resulting in neurosis of some kind. For Craig, his instinctual drive for sex with Maxine cannot be fulfilled because his Ego will not allow him to (at the beginning) due to the fact that the costs outweigh his benefits. Because of this Craig develops a Maxine puppet, which he uses in unison with the puppet form of himself, to act out these desires in a safe, cathartic manner. He gets temporary gratification of his urges without actually receiving any of the negative side effects. For Lotte, on the other hand, she finds a much more fulfilling way to satisfy her urge for Maxine’s love. She uses Malkovich as her

“puppet” and experiences Maxine’s love through making love to her in Malkovich’s body. This is the same basic method of gratification that Craig chose but Lotte gets to actually sense the gratification on a physical level rather that simply on a mental level. For Maxine the answer is much simpler. She claims to love Lotte but only as Malkovich, she hasn’t overcome the social taboo of same sex relationships being unacceptable so she views making love to Lotte in Malkovich’s body acceptable. In her (Maxine’s) mind there is nothing wrong with this because technically speaking it is a heterosexual experience, eventhough she is making love more to Lotte’s mind and soul rather than to Malkovich’s body. This is her way of satisfying her ID desires by bypassing her