Using works from world literature, what are specific examples of stories and dream interpretation? What stories follow the Jungian point of view in the world of dreaming and how has that process...

Using works from world literature, what are specific examples of stories and dream interpretation? What stories follow the Jungian point of view in the world of dreaming and how has that process changed in today's scope of literature and writing? 

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Another student just asked a similar question, but what I really like about yours is that you concentrate on Jung.  Again, I find the wording interesting that you use the words "of stories and dream interpretation," but I can put a finger on some works of World Literature that can help you.  The main dream interpretations come from Switzerland and Austria.  The Austrian Freud (The Interpretation of Dreams) can always be compared to the Swiss Carl Jung ("The Structure of the Unconscious" and "The Significance of Constitution and Heredity in Psychology" and "The Concept of the Collective Unconscious").  Further, because your focus is specifically on Jung, a good example of Jung's idea in World Literature is Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

Sigmund Freud wrote The Interpretation of Dreams which is still used as the primary dream text.  The themes of this book are about distinguishing the conscious mind from the unconscious mind and then putting them up to them mirror of experiences from childhood.  A dreamer can consciously describe ideas in dreams, but these are not the ideas of the unconscious mind.  The unconscious mind of dreams can only be explored with "talk therapy."  By use of this, Freud often brings out a few controversial concepts such as the Oedipus Complex, where a male child secretly wants to be intimate with his mother; therefore, he secretly hates his father. All of these "wishes" remain latent in adulthood.

What is common in all these dreams is obvious. They completely satisfy wishes excited during the day which remain unrealized. They are simply and undisguisedly realizations of wishes.

The dream is the liberation of the spirit from the pressure of external nature, a detachment of the soul from the fetters of matter.

But, of course, your main concentration is on young who explored the idea of the "collective unconscious" in many of his works:  "The Structure of the Unconscious" and "The Significance of Constitution and Heredity in Psychology" and "The Concept of the Collective Unconscious."  Put simply, we are intimately connected with our primal ancestors through our dreams. 

The collective unconscious comprises in itself the psychic life of our ancestors right back to the earliest beginnings. It is the matrix of all conscious psychic occurrences, and hence it exerts an influence that compromises the freedom of consciousness in the highest degree, since it is continually striving to lead all conscious processes back into the old paths.

One of Jung's typical examples is the dream of falling.  Jung ascertains that this particular dream has to do with an ancient time when humans slept in the treetops in hopes to escape meat-eating predators that prowled the ground at night.  Often, these humans would fall from the tree tops and get injured.  As they created offspring, they passed on that particular horrific dream.  So, as you can see, dreams for Jung are very connected to the concept of instinct.

In conclusion, a really good example from British Literature that can be used to explain Jung's idea of the collective unconscious is Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Here the character of Marlow takes a "night journey" into his ancient self.  As Marlow goes deeper into the Congo, Marlow travels deeper into the past.  Eventually, Marlow meets Kurtz, and is amazed at how primal a modern being can be.

But his soul was mad. Being alone in the wilderness, it had looked within itself and, by heavens I tell you, it had gone mad.

Kurtz is typically interpreted as the the most primal of beings, ruled by instinct and impulse as our ancestors were.

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