Carl Jung’s Contribution to Psychoanalytic Theory

A philosopher, psychoanalyst and a disciple of Freud, CG Jung treated the human self as the totality of all psychic processes considering the Freudian concept of individual consciousness as incomplete and unnecessarily negative, Jung proposed a second and far deeper level of the unconscious, which he called collective unconsciousness.Shared by all individuals in a culture, the collective unconscious could be regarded as the, repository of racial memories  and of the primordial images and patterns of experirences, which he calls archetypes.

MTE5NTU2MzE2MjY4NjkzMDAz.jpgWhile Freud believed literature to be an expression of the repressed conflicts and desires of the author, Jung regarded literature as an expression of the collective unconscious, as it provides access for readers to the archetypal images buried in racial memories, thereby helping in revitalising the psyche of the culture as a whole.

Hence the importance of using myths and legends in African, Native American and other resistance literatures in a desperate attempt to reclaim the past, redefine history and assert their cultural identities. A powerful explication of this concept can be seen in Eugene O’Neill‘s Emperor Jones. Jung’s theory has also been a cardinal formative influence on Northrop Frye‘s Archetypal Criticism. Jung also postulated the concept of the Self as constituting of the anima and the animus—the anima being the unconscious female component in men, and the animus being the unconscious male component in women.

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