Analysis Of Lisel Mueller's Reading The Brothers Grimm To Jenny

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In Lisel Mueller’s poem “Reading the Brothers Grimm to Jenny,” the narrator details the relationship that he or she has with Jenny. Jenny is a character who is facing her own internal conflicts, but displays innocence and truthfulness to the narrator. As a result of this display, the narrator is conflicted about telling fairytales to Jenny. Moreover, the narrator is concerned with the high qualities and ideas that she attributes to people who are not worthy, who the narrator deems unworthy. To gain a complete understanding of Jenny’s character and the affects she has on the narrator, A Jungian analysis of this poem is required. In the Jungian analysis of a character, there are three archetypes that must be considered. Carl Jung believed that …show more content…
A person’s persona “is the image that [he or she] shows to others” (Dobie 64). The persona is even compared to a mask that people wear to conceal their inner emotions and thoughts from the outside world (Dobie 64). The narrator in “Reading the Brothers Grimm to Jenny,” is captivated by her persona. The narrator describes Jenny as being “pure in heart,” with “truthful eyes,” and a “keen, attentive stare” (Mueller). However, as mentioned earlier, Jenny has a mind that is battling with lightness and darkness, and the darkness appears to be taking control. Therefore, the purity and sincereness that the narrator believes he or she is seeing is Jenny’s persona, not her actual self. Even though the narrator knows that this is what makes up Jenny’s shadow, and what is dominating her internal thoughts, he or she refuses to see Jenny in that manner. Instead, they only acknowledge Jenny by her persona. Despite, the narrator’s attachment to Jenny’s persona, he or she does recognize her …show more content…
The narrator is aware of the collective unconscious, the archetypes, symbols and themes, that he or she is creating in Jenny (Dobie 389). In “Reading the Brothers Grimm to Jenny,” the narrator states asks “why do I lie to you,” by telling her stories about talking animals and beauty being more than superficial (Mueller). The narrator feels guiltily about producing these images and ideas into Jenny’s unconscious because he or she knows that she will soon have to face a “tower/where disenchantment binds/the curls of innocence” (Mueller). The narrator is aware that one day Jenny will one day learn that these fairytales that she is being told are not true, and the narrator believes that this will damage her innocence. Yet, the narrator is also worried about the current affect that the tales are having on

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