In literature, what is Psychological Theory? 

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Psychological theory in literature is called Psychoanalytic Literary Theory. Heavily influenced by the ideologies of Sigmund Freud, Psychoanalytic Literary Theory requires the theorist, analysts, or critic to psychoanalyze the author of a text and use the analysis in order to define the text itself. Based upon Freud's study, theorists applying Psychoanalytic Literary Theory believe that an author's unconscious thoughts and desires materialize in his or her texts. 

Typical questions which Psychoanalytical Literary Theory asks of a text are as follows: 

- What type of family dynamics are at work (Oedipus Complex, Electra Complex)? 

- Do the actions or obsessions of the characters mirror any obsessions or actions of the author's history? 

- What hidden meanings can be found? What do the hidden meanings represent (repression of memories, traumatic events buried)? 

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