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Freud’s Theory of Psychoanalysis in Shutter Island

Freud’s introduction to the notion of psychoanalysis was one that provided an explanation as well as a prospective answer to an concern that was otherwise untreated: hysteria. Although Freud’s theory was met with heavy skepticism, it is a theory that had adequate merit to nevertheless be utilised in today’s psychological field. Freud acknowledged his theory’s incompleteness but claimed that it was far better than the option, for if somebody offered a total and thorough theory, it would be a item of pure speculation (Freud five). What makes Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis so beneficial is that it is powerful. Not only as a treatment, but as an explanatory text concerning trauma and hysteria. A prime instance of Freud’s ideas of psychoanalysis and hysteria may be found in the novel Shutter Island. Edward “Teddy” Daniels, the protagonist of Shutter Island suffers from the symptoms of repression and trauma, and his repressed object is attempting to surface from his unconscious by means of the trials in which Daniels undergoes all through the novel.

As aforementioned, Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis was largely incomplete and was as a result met with objection. His test subjects were really related in their upbringing and nature, and it was also an embarrassingly modest test group compared to his colleagues’ work. Not only that, element of his remedy for hysteria and trauma involved the use of a sort of hypnosis, a practice hardly understood even by today’s psychologists. Freud acknowledged this and although it was not a thorough theory, it nevertheless revealed significantly about trauma and hysteria that most knew small about. Freud writes when talking about physicians: “He can not understand hysteria. He is in the exact same position before it as the layman.” (two). And what’s a lot more: Freud’s strategies, though somewhat in their infant stage, usually times worked. In reality, the fundamental thought of his theory is practiced by contemporaries right now. At its extremely least, the theory supplied a step towards therapy, as, “Hystericals, accordingly, tend to lose his [doctors’] sympathy…” (Freud two) and typically went untreated.

Psychoanalysis operates primarily based on the idea that symptoms of hysteria are a solution of a approach known as repression. John Wilson writes, “According to Freudian thinking the ego is very selective in what it regards as legitimate components of itself and censors anything it does not like as a outcome of shame, guilt or morality. These dissociated components of ourselves will be forced away and kept in the id.” This is the basic thought of repression: memories, thoughts, or experiences that do not concur with our self-image are sent into the unconscious (also recognized as the id). Freud says, nevertheless, that the repressed object is constantly attempting to resurface from the unconscious he writes, “If a stream flows in two channels, an overflow of a single will take place as quickly as the existing in the other meets with an obstacle.” (five). This “overflow” is where 1 could start to see hysterical symptoms as a outcome of repression.

Although there are many case studies, Freud goes into most depth in his lectures concerning a certain case involving devastating symptoms. He describes a woman with “…severe paralysis…disturbance of eye-movements, and considerably impairment of vision difficulty in maintaining the position of the head, an intense nausea when she attempted to take nourishment, and at one particular time for numerous weeks a loss of the power to drink, in spite of tormenting thirst. Her power of speech was also diminished…she could neither speak nor comprehend her mother tongue…she was subject to states of ‘absence,’ of confusion, delirium, alteration of her whole character.” (1). It is critical to note that till Freud and his partners, these severe symptoms of hysteria often went untreated, for it was a misunderstood and mysterious disorder. Although Freud’s theory was lacking in a lot of aspects, it was in a position to at least supply remedy for many sufferers who suffered these extreme symptoms as properly as offer some significant insight into what was otherwise an primarily untouched subject. He continues to write, “The doctor…put her in a sort of hypnosis and repeated them to her over and more than [the objects that were repressed], in order to bring up any associations…The patient yielded to his suggestion and reproduced for him those psychic creations…These had been fancies…day dreams…which frequently took as their beginning point the circumstance of a girl beside the sick-bed of her father. Anytime she had associated a number of such fancies, she was, as it have been, freed and restored to her standard mental life.” (two). Also, “When this had been going on about six weeks [her not drinking], she was talking a single day in hypnosis about her English governess, whom she disliked, and lastly told, with each sign of disgust, how she had come into the space of the governess, and how that lady’s tiny dog, that she abhorred, had drunk out of a glass…after she had given energetic expression to her restrained anger, she asked for a drink, drank a massive quantity of water with no trouble…The symptom thereupon vanished permanently.” (three).

This was the origin of what is identified as the “talking cure”. The “talking cure” is basically the extracting of the repressed object which would in turn lead to the resolution of the patient’s symptoms. The “talking cure” primarily based its techniques off the fact that, “The nature of the symptoms became clear via their relation to the scene which caused them.” (Freud 3) and that “…hysterical patients endure from reminiscences.” (Freud four). This is crucial when psychoanalyzing Edward “Teddy” Daniels from Shutter Island, as the novel in its entirety is a item of Daniels’s suffering from repression.

Edward Daniels is topic to an immense quantity of trauma. He was a World War II veteran and was exposed to the most gruesome elements of the already horrific war. 1 example of his war traumas is as follows:

“Cawley…placed a record on the phonograph and the scratch of the needle was followed by stray pops and hisses…Reminding him of…a record collection he’d seen in the office of a subcommandant at Dachau, the man listening to it when he’d shot himself in the mouth. He was still alive when Teddy…entered the room. Gurgling. (Lehane 76).

Daniels, even though a character with little sympathy for injustice, nevertheless can not aid feeling perturbed by such a gruesome occasion. Although this was not his main trauma, it only added to the unfathomable quantity of psychological distress Daniels was burdened with. Teddy also recounts a a lot more serious trauma, saying is as follows:

“They looked at us and they wanted us to do what we did. And we sure as hell wanted to do it. So we executed every single one of those fucking Krauts. Disarmed them, leaned them against walls, executed them…By the end of that day, we’d removed five hundred souls from the face of the Earth. Murdered ‘em all. No self-defense, no warfare came into it. It was homicide…They deserved so much worse…but how do you reside with that? How do you tell the wife and the parents and the little ones that you have accomplished this point? You have executed unarmed people? You’ve killed boys?…what you did was also incorrect. And you’ll in no way wash it off.” (Lehane 144-145).

This memory is nearly unparalleled in its traumatic scope. Teddy, currently dealing with the psychological distress that comes with war, was posed with a remarkably challenging ethical circumstance. His personal desires, along with other public pressures, encouraged the execution of the Nazi soldiers even so, the mass-murder of 5 hundred individuals was anything that conflicted with his self-image, regardless of who these individuals had been, and therefore added even more immense psychological tension. To entirely comprehend how potent the trauma that in fact inspired Teddy’s delusion was, it is necessary to realize that the aforementioned traumas were not repressed but merely added tension. What was repressed was anything arguably a lot darker than even mass-murder.

The following is the description of a lady named Rachel Solando’s crime this name nevertheless is an alias in which Teddy assigned to take the spot of his wife, Dolores Chanal. Rachel Solando is a completely fictitious character in which the following crime’s blame was placed as a item of delusion and Teddy’s inability to mentally deal with that Dolores Chanel, his wife, was in fact the one particular to commit the crime:

“Rachel Solando…drowned her three children in the lake behind her property. Took them out there 1 by 1 and held their heads beneath till they died. Then she brought them back into the residence and arranged them about the kitchen table and ate a meal there…” (Lehane 41).

Upon discovering this, Teddy (which he himself ought to be noted is also a product of delusion Edward “Teddy” Daniels is, in truth, Andrew Laeddis)[1] murders his wife. This is the trauma that totally split Teddy’s consciousness. Wilson writes, “If a single does not like an notion or an impression then 1 basically shuts it out and refuses to think it can exist. At the identical time one particular nurtures and encourages one’s preferred belief system and amplifies its existence by repetition and the impetus of acquired duration.”. This is precisely what Teddy (or rather Andrew) suffers from. To fully comprehend what an impact the aforementioned event had on Teddy, a single should comprehend that even in his complex delusion in which is Shutter Island, he nevertheless remembers the subcommandant as nicely as the mass-murder. This is indicated to be reality, as the psychiatrists on Shutter Island do verify that Teddy was a U.S. Marshal and war veteran. Referring back to Freud’s case studies, we see a lady was left unable to consume water due to her seeing a dog she despised drink from a glass. Evaluate that to Teddy’s traumas, and it is clear that he has incredible psychological will. For him to entirely bury the trauma involving Rachel Solando/Dolores Chanal and frame a web of delusion that somehow excluded the situation indicates what profound psychological effect the event had on Teddy.

And this delusion in which was a item of such a traumatic occasion is what frames the plot for Lehane’s Shutter Island: Teddy, a U.S. Marshal hunting for escaped murderess Rachel Solando. Teddy of course has no recollection of his true identity or that he murdered his wife and is also ignorant to the fact that Rachel Solando, who drowned her 3 kids, is in reality a proxy of sorts for his wife, Dolores Chanal.

Teddy’s delusion, although remarkably intricate, is not without slight flaws even though. Teddy, upon meeting his randomly assigned companion (who is in reality his psychiatrist) observes his partner’s, “…olive skin and slim, delicate hands that seemed incongruous with the rest of him, as if he’d borrowed them till his true ones came back from the shop.” (Lehane 14). His partner’s awkward hands was a discrepancy amongst what his delusion proposed and reality. This is observed once again when Teddy confronts Rachel Solando (who in reality was a nurse at the institution) and ponders how, “There was anything uncomfortably familiar about her…” (Lehane 43-44). Along with that, there is but another conflict observed when Teddy is attempting to resolve a code (in which he unknowingly designed): “Teddy thought it was speaking to him, becoming clearer…he could really feel one thing about them scratching at his brain…It was right in front of him. It was so simple…And then any attainable bridges of logic collapsed, and Teddy felt his thoughts go white…” (Lehane 52). The explanation becoming for the mental collapse was because he could not consciously resolve what his unconscious thoughts had produced with out ruining his delusion. His thoughts responds by primarily shutting down in order to shield his developed reality. Along with the aforementioned, there is one more conflict that can be found which takes type in a dream Teddy has. The dream goes as follows:

“…He’s here.”



The name crawls by means of his flesh and climbs more than his bones.


“Yes.” She [Dolores Chanal] bends her head back, appears up at him. “You’ve known.”

“I haven’t.”

“Yes, you have.” (Lehane 89).

All of these situations are examples of the repressed thought trying to resurface into consciousness. Nonetheless, Freud observed that if the repressed object is contradictory enough to one’s morals and ethics, it will continue to stay buried in the unconscious for an untold quantity of time. Such is the case in all of the aforementioned situations.

Dreams play a significant function in the psychoanalysis of Teddy, as the“Interpretation of dreams is in fact…the interpretation of the unconscious…” (Freud 11). Teddy’s dreams can corroborate with Freud’s claim, as they generally provide some sort of relation to Teddy’s trauma with his wife. In one particular dream, he sees his wife, and “…the back of her is charred, smoldering a bit…and modest ribbons of smoke unwind from her hair.” (Lehane 87). Then, “…she’s no longer burned, she’s soaking wet.” (Lehane 87). The purpose he sees his wife charred and burned is because she had burned their old apartment down. Teddy repressed that occasion also, for it was psychologically also tough for him to method and, right after the burning of their apartment, decided it would be better for their family members to move to a cabin, which is presented in the next segment of his dream: “…the view of an additional spot they stayed when, a cabin. There’s a little pond out there with tiny logs floating in it…” (Lehane 88). Then, “Her belly springs a leak and the liquid flows by way of his hands,” (Lehane 88) and, “His tears spill down her physique and mix with her pouring belly.” (Lehane 89). The continuous recurring theme of water is possibly the most valuable in its relation to his past trauma recognizing the symbolism in water is essential simply because it represents the drowning of his kids. To further confirm this, his youngsters are what he refers to as the “small logs” floating in the water. The significance allotted to water extends past mere dreams Teddy also suffers all through the novel from severe sea-sickness. Along with that, Teddy was constantly becoming reminded of his dead wife by seemingly random factors, and one of the triggers with the most considerable effect in this was water: when referring to factors that reminded him of his wife, Teddy observes “…nothing was significantly less logical in terms of connective tissue, or far more pungent in terms of effect, than water…” (Lehane 20). This, of course, was not random but as an alternative was directly associated to Teddy’s previous trauma in which his children have been drowned by his wife, which is why water had such a devastating impact on him.

Another instance of a dream that enables the reader to peek into Teddy’s unconscious is 1 in which Teddy and Andrew Laeddis both switch roles in getting sex with Rachel Solando and Dolores Chanal with seeming randomness. This ease of interchangeability is due to the fact that Teddy and Andrew are one in the same, as are Rachel and Dolores the way they are separate is by signifies of Teddy’s delusion. Sleep is a time devoid of consciousness, therefore there is much less resistance against the repressed object to surface.

Teddy, currently beneath extreme psychological pressure, also suffers physiological symptoms. When referring to war veterans, Jeneen Interlandi writes, “In addition to their nightmares and hallucinations, several of them had a host of physical ailments such as headaches, fatigue, digestive troubles and shut down.”. In her paper “How do you Heal a Traumatized Thoughts?”, Interlandi relays her experiences with psychologist Bessel van der Kolk. 1 of these experiences was a function-play similar to the one Teddy underwent. The part-play subject was a man named Eugene “…his job involved disposing of exploded bombs. It was a year of dead bodies, he mentioned. He saw, touched, smell and stepped in a lot more bodies than he could possibly count. Some of them were youngsters.” (Interlandi). This is not totally as opposed to some of Teddy’s war traumas. Also, “Eugene killed an innocent man and then watched as the man’s mother discovered the physique a brief whilst later.” (Interlandi). Even though Eugene and Teddy endure separate traumas, they each are war-connected and they each yielded physiological troubles. These issues surfaced due to the reality that, “…repressed memories had been a frequent feature of traumatic tension. Traumatic experiences were not becoming processed into memories…but had been somehow acquiring ‘stuck in the machine’ and then expressed via the body.” (Interlandi).

Maybe Teddy’s most prevalent physiological symptom is headaches. These headaches often materialize when Teddy faces a potential conflict in between his delusion and reality. Some examples of the pain he suffers from headaches are: “A dull ache settled into the left side of his head, just behind the eye, as if the flat side of an old spoon were pressed there.” (Lehane 21), “Teddy was feeling the location in the back of his skull by that point.” (Lehane 113), “…a canyon filled with lava reduce through the skull just beneath the component in his hair…the pain erupted like a dozen dagger points pushed slowly into his cranium…” (Lehane 175), and so forth. It may be noted that the latter of all of these, which is possibly one of the most intense physiological pains he endures, was following confronting Rachel Solando.

Even Freud talked about psychological disturbances major to physiological symptoms: “…they undergo a modify into uncommon bodily innervations and inhibitions, which present themselves as the physical symptoms of the case.” (five). Kamuf writes of yet another symptom: “…a foreign physique is usually a symptom, it usually does symptom [fait symptome] on the physique of the ego, it is a physique foreign to the body of the ego.” Teddy, in a number of instances throughout the novel, expresses the discomfort he feels in his own physique. Interlandi too confirms this symptom in saying, “Trauma victims…are alienated from their bodies by a cascade of events that begins deep in the brain.”. These physiological occurrences only add to Teddy’s incomprehensible amount of tension.

Sabouri and Sadeghzadegan write, “…what certainly gives rise to the psychotic state of Andrew is the excessive repetition and recurrence of his delusions, hallucinations and dreams whose sole message is the reminiscence of…past traumas he finds himself unable to recollect.”. Teddy (in reality, Andrew Laeddis) is a victim of repression his wife drowned their three youngsters and he in turn murders her. This is a profoundly dark occasion, and Teddy responds to it by entirely shutting it out from his consciousness and then formulating an intricate and detailed internet of delusions in which permit him to continue living with out these memories. His delusion proposes that his name is Edward “Teddy” Daniels, a U.S. Marshal searching for escaped murderess Rachel Solando on Shutter Island (the spot in which he is institutionalized for getting murdered his wife and having been a victim to intense psychological pressures). The psychiatrists at Shutter Island let Teddy to play out his delusion in the hopes it may act as a sort of parallel to Freud’s “talking cure”. In truth, Freedman writes about an author who dealt with her repression by way of writing: “Writing for H.D. requires on the magical and the therapeutic value of the talking cure for Freud.”. The psychiatrists are trying to locate a profitable way to extract Teddy’s trauma in order that he might face its reality and ultimately be relieved of his a lot of psychological and physiological symptoms. Regrettably, the trauma proves also extreme and Teddy is in the end unable to retrieve the repressed object from his unconscious and progress to a state of reality, and the reader is left with a case study that highlights the mystery and incompleteness in which we realize psychoanalysis and even psychology as a whole. Despite his continuous living in delusion, it is mentioned by Teddy’s psychiatrist that, “In his own peculiar way, he hated lies more than anyone I have ever known.” (Lehane 2).

Operates Cited

Freedman, Ariela. “Gifts, goods and Gods: H.D., Freud and trauma.” English Studies in Canada, vol. 29, no. three-4, 2003, p. 184+. Literature Resource Center, Accessed 3 Nov. 2016.

Freud, Sigmund. Excellent Books of the Western Globe. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1988. Print.

Interlandi, Jeneen. “How Do You Heal a Traumatized Mind?” The New York Times Magazine, 25 Might 2014, p. 42(L). Literature Resource Center, Accessed three Nov. 2016.

Kamuf, Peggy. “The deconstitution of psychoanalysis.” Mosaic: A journal for the interdisciplinary study of literature, vol. 42, no. 4, 2009, p. 35+. Literature Resource Center, Accessed three Nov. 2016.

Lehane, Dennis. Shutter Island. New York, Harper, 2009.

Sabouri, Hossein, and Majid M. Sadeghzadegan. “Distress and psychological distortions in Dennis Lehane’s ‘Shutter Island’.” Theory and Practice in Language Research, vol. 3, no. 2, 2013, p. 376+. Literature Resource Center, Accessed three Nov. 2016.

Wilson, John G. “Repression: psychoanalytic and Sartrean phenomenological perspectives.”Existential Evaluation, vol. 21, no. 2, 2010, p. 271+. Literature Resource Center, Accessed three Nov. 2016.

[1] The explanation getting for my referring to Andrew Laeddis as Edward “Teddy” Daniels is because the narrative follows the latter name throughout the novel In Teddy’s delusion, Andrew Laeddis is assigned the crime of obtaining killed Teddy’s wife, as the thought of him killing his own wife was also much to mentally bear, and Andrew Laeddis (who, in reality, is the protagonist) alternatively becomes a entirely separate entity from the fictitious identity of “Edward ‘Teddy’ Daniels”.
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