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Criticisms of Great Expectations Psychoanalytic and Gender Perspectives Psychoanalytic and gender literary criticisms are important as individual analyses and are similar in some respects namely sexual and gender issues which make them ideal choices for analyzing Great Expectations Reading the novel from a psychoanalytical perspective invites an interpretation based on symbols repression dreams and the nature of the conscious vs the unconscious mind The central thesis of psychoanalytical criticism is based on the theories of Sigmund Freud who recognized the link between literary works and human psychology Just as Freuds theories on human psychology have changed the way in which the world thinks so has psychoanalytical criticism changed the way literature is read and studied If by understanding human psychology according to Freud we can appreciate literature on a new level then we should acquaint ourselves with his insights 464 A gender criticism of the novel can be based in deconstructing oppositions in the text that are related to gender issues such as masculine vs feminine and heterosexual vs homosexual Gender criticism evolved from feminist criticism in the early 1980s raising issues that are endlessly contested and perhaps necessarily problematic 558 Peter Brookss essay on repetition and repression in the plot of Great Expectations is especially useful because Brooks presents the psychoanalytic criticism through the text itself not through the characters A Freudian approach to literature views the plot of the text as the object to be analyzed - the patient if you will Dickens uses plot and manipulation of plot effectively throughout the novel until the end when as Brooks says none of the schemes machinated by the characters manages to accomplish its aims 496 Brooks uses Freuds theory of the relationship between the ego and the id or the conscious and the unconscious as though the actual text of Great Expectations has a mind of its own its own psyche and he references Freuds words that the basic human drive is to return
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