Psychoanalytic Analysis of Killing the Grubs Essay

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Psychoanalytic Analysis of Killing the Grubs

The psychoanalytic approach to an open text enables the reader to establish the difference between the good and the evil, and notice the importance of aggression in the words. The reader can even understand the characters' motives, which in turn help the reader become part of the story. "According to the Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature the psychoanalytic approach is "...a valuable tool in understanding not only literature but human nature and their individual selves as well " (Guerin 156)." The reader is able to see the experiences of one character and predict how he/she will react to their environment.

 These psychoanalytic ideas are found in Eleanor Wilner's poem
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The woman, shocked by her anger, cannot control her rage and feels a bit scared at the intensity of her actions. Also, compared to her first, gentle analysis of the bugs, she now describes them differently as, "those creeping hidden lives," and "those little scapegoats," (Wilner 19-20 ). In a matter of minutes, the grubs change from careless creatures to menacing monsters. The woman offers no remorse for the bugs and only plans an evil ending for them. Wilner makes this visible when she writes, "I want them dead...I am their executioner, and I exult," (30-31). The character in the poem has now experienced two of the most important concepts in Freud's theory--the id and the superego.

Another part of the psychoanalytic approach includes phallic and yonic symbolism. Before mentioning the physical symbols in the poem, it is also important to recognize the sexual terms that are used in the text. Words and phrases such as "invoke", "sunk deep", "how one grab", and "strike and strike", all contain sexual innuendo and help the reader understand the psychoanalytic approach. The sexual symbols illustrated in this approach are evident in the second stanza when the woman experiences her id for the first time. She operates with a long, stick-like trowel to get rid of the bugs, which scurry along the ground as rubbery dots. The trowel pertains to

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