Psychoanalytic Theory

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  • Psycho- Analytic theory/Psychoanalytic Criticism. (a science concerned with the "interaction of conscious and unconscious processes")
    • Hable con Ella - Ideas about the conscious and unconscious are central to the narrative.
      • Both women end up in a comatose state.
        • For Macro, this means Lydia is effectively dead due to her lack of visible responses.
        • For Benigno, Alicia is very much alive and he responds to her as if they were in an equal relationship and she was fully able to express her desires, thus seemingly justifying his sexual violation of her defenseless body.
      • Symbolism is used throughout to present ideas or viewpoints for personal interpretation by audiences.
        • "Shrinking Lover" - used to cover up Alicia's rape.
        • Lydia's fear of snakes as symbolizing rejection of the phallus.
          • Phallocentrism intrinsically linked in Talk to Her through the use of this symbol.
        • Lydia being gored by the bull could be representative of sexual violation.
          • This is in binary opposition to her adopting a masculine guise by being a bullfighter in the first place.
            • Poetically demonstrated in the scenes where she is getting dressed and in the slow motion bullfight itself.
      • Structure revolves around the two women, stories told are always analepsis to stories about the couples/something they experienced with the women.
    • Freud - 'one of the Difficulties of Psychoanalysis' (1963).
      • "What is in your mind is not identical with what you are conscious of; whether something is going on in your mind and whether you hear of it are two different things.
        • We are not in complete control of ourselves at all times, therefore we do things for reasons we do not understand or will not admit to ourselves.
    • Oedipus Complex (Which signifies a male's desire to possess the mother sexually and to exclude the father, thought to be a source of personality disorder if unresolved.)
      • Benigno's relationship with his mother and then Alicia.
        • Benigno could be trying to possess his mother sexually - mirrored relationship between him and mother and him and Alicia (caretaking of them both)
          • Marco - "What do you know about women?" Benigno - "Everything. I spent 20 years with one and now 4 with this one."
            • Simple perspective as both Alicia and his mother as just 'women' could reflect replacement.
        • Benigno's rejection of father - panning shot from window to wedding picture in which his father has been cut out.
      • Heavily masculinist theory
    • Freud - Vagina Dentata (Toothed vagina - women can castrate a man, using her vagina as a weapon)
      • Freud theorised that fear of the mother derived from the view that she herself had already been castrated.
        • He said; "Probably no male human being is spared the terrifying shock of threatened castration at the sight of the female genitals".
        • Freud also said that a young boy would also fear his father, as the child may assume that it is the father that castrated his mother and is scared that he can and will do the same to him.
        • Benigno's rejection of father and care-taking of mother.
      • Symbolised by Alicia's purse or her hair clip stolen when breaking into her room.
        • Representative of rape/contemplation of sexual assult.
          • "I'm harmless"
        • Purse/bag as vagina?
        • trespassing = rape?


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