Friday, February 27, 2009

A Freudian Perspective on Janie's Troubles

I found myself wondering why Janie is so quick to let all of these men into her lives. After only a few encounters with Tea Cakes, she starts to love and trust him with all her heart. The same held true for Joe Starks - after a few meetings of flirtation, Janie decided to run away with him. Janie's fickle tendencies seem rash and ill-thought out. So I connected Janie's problems with Freud's explanation on how women pick their husbands.

Freud said that a young girl's "first love" is her father, meaning that she sees him, idealizes him and expects those same qualities to be in other men in her lives. Janie never knew her father, so according to Freud, she is confused on what she is looking for in men. She wonders if she needs a man that lets her be an equal, or a man that keeps her subservient. Due to the lack of a father figure in her life, internal confusion causes her to noncommittal relationships - from Logan to Joe to Tea Cakes.

Janie's confusion about her thoughts and feelings can also be traced back to the traumatic experiences of her childhood. Freud said that we hide traumatic, stressful events deep down in our unconsciousness.
Both her mother and her grandmother were taken brutally advantage of - they were nothing more than objects to men that abused them. Even hearing about the rape of her mother is so traumatic that it still affects Janie as an adult - she allows men to debase her, abuse her and make her servile to them.

If only Janie had the opportunity to go to a Freudian psychotherapist today...

1 comment:

  1. While I agree with the fact that Janie makes her decisions rather quickly (I mentioned that in another post), I think that in the case of Logan and Joe, it is more out of desperation. She does not want to be with Logan since it is more of an arranged marriage. Joe at the time seems to be the perfect way out.

    I do agree with the the servile part because she does not resist Joe during the majority of their marriage. However, I think that by the end of the book, she has developed an independence.

    Still, I have not taken Psychology yet, and I think that Freud can definitely explain some of her rash and not well prepared actions.