All psychoanalytical criticism begins with the ideas of Freud which sought to explore the nature of the unconscious mind. Freud’s concern was with the sense of loss the subject experiences upon separation from its mother’s body.
Freud believed that people have desires, often sexual, that are denied or repressed because of social conventions or personal circumstances. The desires do not go away, however, and literature can be a means by which the unconscious mind can express its repressed needs. Thus the unacceptable becomes acceptable as the author’s deep rooted desires are disguised by symbolism to be decoded by the reader; for example, the lighthouse in Virginia Woolf’s novel To The Lighthouse has been seen by some as a symbol of sexuality.
The psychoanalytic critic might explore the symbolic elements in the story. They examine the idea of dreams and desires that have been repressed and surface in the literature. And most often these are SEXUAL!
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