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A Story of Sibling Rivalry and Oedipal Conflicts - Essay Example

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I. Introduction
In this paper, I would attempt to provide a critique of the essay Cinderella: A Story of Sibling Rivalry and Oedipal Conflicts written by Bruno Bettelheim. …
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A Story of Sibling Rivalry and Oedipal Conflicts
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Download file to see previous pages The main focus of this paper is at summarizing and explaining the author’s analysis of Cinderella’s age old fairy tale, which has survived several centuries as a popular story. This story is liked by almost every child and even many adult readers considerably appreciate its overtly melodramatic approach. II. Summary Bruno Bettelheim is a Freudian psychologist and in this essay, he ventures to find out the reason behind the popularity of the story of Cinderella. Instead of picturing it as a fantastic fairy tale, Bettelheim aims at explaining it as a mirror image of the various complicated psychological factors related to the individual’s society, family, and his/her own self. Bettelheim attempts to establish that while reading a fairy tale, the reader (particularly when he/she is a child) consciously intakes the superficial message of the story; but his/her subconscious mind interprets it completely differently. These divergent interpretations might not have been understood while writing or telling the fairy tale, but Freudian psychology can help to explain them in the way Bettelheim explains the story of Cinderella. Finally, Bettelheim puts forward that the inner meaning of this fairy tale is centered on sibling rivalry and oedipal conflicts. The reader’s subconscious mind catches this inner meaning and tries to solve his/her inward psychological problems like inferiority complex, Oedipus complex, depression, etc. III. Critique The author, being a Freudian psychologist himself, took a psychoanalytical approach that focused on different general and fictional individuals. General individuals involve the reader and particularly the child. Fictional individuals are different epical or legendary characters, Cinderella being one of them. Bettelheim extensively examines the interactivity and related social constructs through both literary and psychological perspectives. He elucidates the clarity of his claim and the claim itself. This starts from the very title of the essay. Right in the title, he makes a clear statement claiming that Cinderella is actually a story of sibling rivalry, which involves even the most complicated psychological aspects of one’s oedipal confrontations toward oneself. The logos are developed as per the author’s own standpoint, where he can be quoted as the following: “The fairy tale replaces sibling relations with relations between step-siblings—perhaps a device to explain and make acceptable an animosity which one wishes would not exist among true siblings” (Bettelheim, 651-2). Hence, Bettelheim seeks to logically justify the popularity of Cinderella as a fairy tale, where not only Cinderella (the central character or heroine) becomes a fantastic projection of the child himself/herself but also humans’ subconscious desire of having ideal sibling relationships is manifested. But every child has a subconscious psychological tendency to be dissatisfied with his/her siblings and develop an inferiority complex relative to them. From a Freudian perspective, Bettelheim extends this logical reasoning or logos and claims that “there are moments—often long time periods—when for inner reasons a child feels this way even when his position among his siblings may seem to give him no cause for it.” (Bettelheim, 651-2) These factors must be considered seriously while explaining both the popularity and inner message of the fairy tale under discussion. And Bettelheim uses a professional plus scientific tone all the time that strengthens his ethos and creates a credible reflection on the Freudian explanation with regard to Cinderella. The ethos further culminates at an emotional treatment involving the thematic pathos of the essay when the author writes the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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