Notes From Underground Critical Essays

Notes From Underground Critical Essays-27
I say that in all seriousness - I'd have derived pleasure from this too. (8)The choice of metaphor is noteworthy: the underground Man identifies himself with deformed beings: the dwarf, the hunchback.Later he will develop the metaphor of the mouse in much the same way.Early in the story, Dostoevsky inscribes the Underground Man's hypersensitivity.

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(6) What is unusual is how closely Dostoevsky, who precedes Freud, captures both the spirit and the letter of psychoanalysis .

Such a psychoanalytic approach is invited, of course, by the psychic state of the protagonist, as well as by the structure of the work. But, actually, I don't understand a damn thing about my sickness; I'm not even too sure what it is that's ailing me.

Is it all the circumstances he is in and the position from which he sees the world?

Everyone out there , above him , and he's under them, like watching life appart from them and feeling all those bad and angry feelings that make him happy at the same time?

Equally noteworthy is the rhetoric, whereby language is manipulated for its effect.

The Underground Man uses language melodramatically, enabling him to interact with the reader-as-analyst and invite her or him to play his game.

With Freud, resistance would become a normal part of the psycho-analytic situation, a 'necessary evil' that the informed listener would have to learn to diagnose.

Attempting to depict resistance more graphically for students of psychoanalysis, Freud offers the example of the "man who has gone to the dentist because of an unbearable toothache will nevertheless try to hold the dentist back when he approaches the sick tooth with a pair of forceps."(9) He goes on to note a characteristic of neurotic resistance wherein the patient, by resisting, is really only harming her or himself.

Consider the situation suggested by the Underground Man himself: ...listen carefully some time to the moans of a nineteenth century intellectual suffering from a toothache... He certainly knows that he's not helping himself by moaning like that.

No one knows better than he that he's tormenting and irritating himself and others for nothing...


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