Psychology / Literature Through The Ages And It'S Psychological Effect

Literature Through The Ages And It'S Psychological Effect

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Autor:  anton  29 October 2010
Tags:  Literature,  Through,  Psychological,  Effect
Words: 1672   |   Pages: 7
Views: 295

Literature reflects the individual and the society in which he lives. Various genres of literature can be written directly, in which the author states the theme and proves it – as in as essay – or it can be written indirectly, in which the author never states the theme but implies it in different ways. The poet, for example, creates a concrete picture to imply a more complex and abstract idea. With strategically placed rhyme – words the sound alike, meter – varying stressed rhythm, and stanza – major division; the poet packs a plethora of meaning into his brief writing, therefore making poetry the most economical genre. The tools that create the implied meaning include simile – an explicit comparison suck as “she is like a doll,” and metaphor – an implicit comparison such as “she is a rose,” in which “she” is the tenor – unknown, and “rose” is the vehicle – known. The main idea is the tenor and because the tenor and the vehicle have shared qualities you can make conclusions about the tenor. Personifications – giving abstractions and objects human characteristics – like “Mother Nature” and “Father Time,” and symbols – things that represent something else – are often used as well to relay meaning and purpose in poetry and in all forms of literature.

Stories – the basis of literature – are a set of circumstances that imply a theme, and there are many different types of stories – all with their own purpose. The two basic types of written literature are short stories – contain one incident, are simplistic, and novels – long stories that are more complex and developed. These forms are advantageous because you can create your own heroes from your own experiences with your imagination. The other type of literature is visual art, such as drama – which has real people and depends primarily on dialogue, opera – which is music based, and film – semblance of reality. The advantage of this form of literature is that it is easy to follow and visual, but the disadvantage is that it depends on many people to relay that story. Regardless of the type of story, there is always a set of particular elements to it; characters – the people in involved, setting – the place(s) where events take place, plot – the system of actions, climax – the peak of the action, and theme - the main idea or purpose. An element that varies between stories is the point of view. A writer can write in 1st person – where the character tells the story and shares only the information that he knows, 3rd person objective – where the author tells the story without the thoughts and feelings of anyone, 3rd person limited subjective – where the author tells the story while including the thoughts and feelings of only one character, omniscient – where the author plays God and tells the story while expressing the thoughts and feelings of an great number of people, and stream of consciousness – where the author reports the thoughts and feelings of one character in a pattern as things happen within the story. Whether the writing is subjective – from the mind, or objective – factual, a point is always given to the reader.

Psychology – the study of the individual – has explained the different writing styles through the ages as people grow and expand in their knowledge and understanding. There are thought to be two types of human beings, normal ones – the majority, and abnormal – the minority which is divided into two subcategories; psychotic – not in touch with reality, and neurotic – in touch with reality with the knowledge that reality is painful. Along with this, there are thought to be two basic motives for behavior – desire for pleasure and avoidance of pain. Theories can be made using these psychological studies about what makes people think in certain ways and therefore write in progressing styles throughout history.

Two well known psychologists who spent their lives in the study of human behavior are Sigmund Freud – founder of Freudianism, and Carl Jung – founder of Jungianism. Jung believed in a collective unconsciousness and archetypes – a literal universe. He thought there to be three basic forces effecting a human individually; shadow – evil, anima – life force, which is known to be higher in women, and persona – the mask, which is known to be higher in men. Freud believed that everyone has a consciousness – made up of material you can recall, and a subconsciousness – made up of material you can not recall and in which memories could be placed that are to painful to handle and are repressed into the subconscious. Repression, as it is called, comes out in peoples lives symbolically and can only be cured when a person recalls the repressed material usually with the help of a psychologist. Freud also believed that human behavior was effected by three distinct forces; the super ego – which tells you to be nice to others and hold your morals and values, the id – which tells you to satisfy the self, and the ego – which is the outward personality that balances the id and the superego. Without a proper balance, a fixation is formed – a fixation on the superego causing one to be neurotic, and a fixation on the id causing one to be psychotic.

Along with the individual behavior of a person, the collective behavior of a community as a whole has molded literature throughout the ages. In the classical age there was paganism – a religion based on many many literary myths and models that were to be followed, their goal was to develop all potentials – mind, body, and soul. Christianity came about in the medieval age and was semi-symbolic, based around the commandments and stories of the Bible. Society had a symbolic world view where man is the center of the universe and everything is based on faith. The Renaissance of the 16th century, also known as the rebirth, brought with it Shakespeare as well as Galileo and his telescope which showed people that man is not the center of the universe – people then started thinking with logic more than faith. Thus began the scientific age. In the Colonization of the 17th Century, there was a protestant revolution known as the Baroque – this started the belief that everyone can have their own personal experience with God as well as the puritan belief that the harder you work the better your chances of getting to heaven are. Neoclassicism was popular in the 18th Century – people were logical and valued freedom, comfort, and heaven on earth. This was also when the U.S. Constitution was written. Neoclassicism felt that when a baby is born it is naturally bad and must be trained by the society to be good. In the next century, in which romanticism – where people were against logic, trusted their emotions, and loved nature - reined, they believed that when a baby is born it is naturally good and society corrupts it. Throughout all of the changes of societies through time, the literature changed as well and still, as we study it, plays a large part of our written works today.

The most current century was the 20th century, in which styles changed rapidly and society grew immensely as a whole. 1880 through 1919 brought the rise of realism – literature mirrored life, science matured, there were many inventions, and popular authors included Mark Twain and Walt Whitman. The 1920s, also known as the roaring 20s, was full of prosperity and fun. There were new inventions – such as cars and washing machines – there was literary freedom, and the womens’ rights movement began. The 1930s brought with it a big blow to American economy in the form of the Great Depression which left people with no jobs, no money, and sociological literature – like Stienbeck’s The “Grapes of Wrath.” In the 1940s, world war two raged on. People needed a scapegoat, and that scapegoat for the people of America was Hitler, Literature was mostly war propaganda. The 1950s – the age of prosperity – was about materialism and gave us the Beatniks – poets from San Francisco and New York City who complained about the shallow community. There was a spiritual revolution in the 60s where people experimented with religions and drugs. The Vietnam War was fought in this decade as well, and there was a culture spilt between the young people and the old world war two veterans. The 1970s was a rest period. Great movies like “Jaws” and “Star Wars” were made, and the population became focused on space. In the last two decades of the 20th century, everything became high-tech and people had to figure out what to do with all the new information they had. The frame of thought was that you could do anything as long as you don’t get caught. This brings us to today, in the 21st century. People have progressed both in personal human behavior and as a society, and along the way many different movements of literature occurred, all of which affect the literature we have today.

This leaves us with the choice of which type of literary criticism to choose to study literature with. Each literary device has its own purpose depending on how you use it; biographical – where you study the life of the author to better understand his literature, sociological – where you study the society in which the book was written to better understand the literature, chronological – where you study the ages to better understand the literature, psychological – where you study psychological principles to help better understand the literature, and new criticism – where you study the work only. Whatever the device, you will always find it clear that individual behavioral habits and society’s progression reflect heavily on the literature of the time.



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