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Melancholia, identification, and the question of masculine psychosis in reinaldo arenas
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Melancholia, identification, and the question of masculine psychosis in reinaldo arenas

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  • 1. Melancholia, Identification, and the Question ofMasculine Psychosis Presentation made by Ronald Simoes Melancholia, identification and 1 Masculine Psychosis
  • 2. Id, Superego and EgoPleasure principle Reality principleId Super EgoEGO EGO Melancholia, identification and 2 Masculine Psychosis
  • 3. Only penis Freuds Psychosexual Stages  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvOoYX45G_0 At this moment, a person might become narcissistic Melancholia, identification and 3 Masculine Psychosis
  • 4. Lacan and FreudInfants development No clear distication between object and subject, itself and the external world. Freud: Pre-oedipal stage Lacan: Imaginary Lacks any defined center of self. Melancholia, identification and 4 Masculine Psychosis
  • 5. Oedipus and Electra complex Oedipus complex is for Freud the beginnings of morality, conscience, law and all forms of social and religious authority. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvOoYX45G_0 1:29 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BA35ys91QJUHow does this commercial contradict the classical Oedipus complex? Melancholia, identification and 5 Masculine Psychosis
  • 6. Gender + sexualityMelancholy and gender Refusal - ButlerPhilosophy and Maternal body – WalkerClassical Freudian Oedipus complex Melancholia, identification and 6 Masculine Psychosis
  • 7. Arena’s DreamEn otro sueno, quiero acercarme a la casa donde estaba mimadre y hay una tela metálica frente a la puerta. Llamo y llamopara que me abran la puerta; ella y mi tía están al otro lado de latela metálica y yo les hago señales, me llevo la mano al pecho yde mi mano empiezan a salir pájaros, cotorras de todos loscolores, insectos y aves cada vez más gigantescas; comienzo agritar que me abran, y ellas me miran a través de la tela metálica;yo sigo produciendo toda clase de gritos y animales, pero nopuedo cruzar la puerta. (Arenas 1992: 336) Melancholia, identification and 7 Masculine Psychosis
  • 8. CathexisIn psychoanalysis, cathexis is defined as the process of investment of mental or emotional energy in a person, object, or ideaFreud conceptualized the question of energy directed at the self versus energy directed at others, called cathexis Melancholia, identification and 8 Masculine Psychosis
  • 9. Reinaldo can ultimately hope to internalise (and hence, “precipitate of abandoned object-cathexes” Melancholia, identification and 9 Masculine Psychosis
  • 10. Abandoned object-cathexesThe Ego and the Id”, the final character of the ego to a “precipitate ofabandoned object-cathexes” containing “the history of those object-choices”At its most radical, Freud’s theory thus implies that identification is notsubsidiary or “exterior” to an allegedly pre-established, “original” self (i.e.the “Self” qua hupokeimenon, as an entity which literally “under-lies” itsidentifications); on the contrary, the subject consists of nothing except thoseidentifications, identifications which, taking the place of abandoned cathexes,turn it into a “sedimentation” or “archaeological reminder” (the phrase isJudith Butler’s) of objects once loved and lost (Butler 1997: 133) Melancholia, identification and 10 Masculine Psychosis
  • 11. Mourning and MelancholyIn his 1917 essay “Mourning and Melancholy”, Freud recognizes two mutually exclusive responses to loss — mourning [Trauer] and melancholia [Melancholie]. This sharp distinction between the two responses has long since become almost synonymous with the understanding of a normal versus a pathological reaction to loss, and the clear demarcation between them. Melancholia, identification and 11 Masculine Psychosis
  • 12. Melancholia, identification and 12Masculine Psychosis
  • 13. Melancholic identificationTheory of gender as a melancholic identification. Such a theory will enable us to gain a deeper understanding of Arenas’s relationship to the maternal figure in Antes que anochezca, under whose light the idea of “acting out” (understood as the manifestation of an unconscious desire to be or to stand in for the mother) will give us the final key to the interpretation of the book. saint Melancholic identification witch Melancholia, identification and 13 Masculine Psychosis
  • 14. CastrationFreud SprengnetherEGO – From Castration – Oedipus complex EGO- From mourningMother’s body is plenitude Mother’s body is strange and differentFather/ phallus No father / There is lossSeparation from the protecting mother at birth Loss and division. Mother is the other, not me. The very existence of the ego is coincident with the awareness of loss, there is no time at which mother has not been Other” Melancholia, identification and 14 Masculine Psychosis
  • 15. Arena’s Loss and double Freud enabled us to realise, he preserved the mother as part of himself as a way ofstaying or disavowing the recognition of her loss. What I presently wish toemphasise, however, is the fact that, at a more superficial level, the motherconstitutes also, in Antes que anochezca, a signifier which Reinaldo constantlyrepudiates or escapes from (“huir”) in an attempt to retain a sense of “his own”identity The state of division experienced as consciousness is mirrored in [the mother’s] body as the site of division itself […] Melancholia, identification and 15 Masculine Psychosis
  • 16. Phallus or Self-castrationSome crucial consequences of such insights, for feminism as well asfor psychoanalytic theory in general, is the collapsing of the veryhierarchical relationship between the Oedipal and pre-Oedipal periods(or in Lacan’s terms between the Imaginary and Symbolic stages): nolonger associated with the intervention of the father/Phallus, thechild’s knowledge of “castration” (and hence his/her access to theworld of symbolic relations) are now considered to begin “with theonset of life itself”( page 73) Melancholia, identification and 16 Masculine Psychosis
  • 17. Girls develops penis envy – Electra complex Melancholia, identification and 17 Masculine Psychosis
  • 18. “Normal sexuality”Butler’s “Melancholy Gender/Refused Identification” analyses theexistence of the “normal” (heterosexual) “masculine” versus“feminine” identity as the result of a primary (homosexual) object-choice—one involving the parental figure of the same sex, Melancholia, identification and 18 Masculine Psychosis
  • 19. Butler – Man and femininity Becoming a “man” within this logic requires repudiating femininity as aprecondition for the heterosexualization of sexual desire and its fundamentalambivalence […]Indeed, the desire for the feminine is marked by that repudiation: he wantsthe woman he would never be. He wouldn’t be caught dead being her:therefore he wants her […]His wanting will be haunted by a dread of being what he wants, so that hiswanting will also always be a kind of dread. Melancholia, identification and 19 Masculine Psychosis
  • 20. Drag[D]rag exposes or allegorizes the mundane psychic and performative practices by which heterosexualized genders form themselves through renouncing the possibility of homosexuality[…] Drag thus allegorizes heterosexual melancholy, the melancholy by which a masculine gender is formed from the refusal to grieve the masculine as a possibility of love; a feminine gender is formed (taken on, assumed) through the incorporative fantasy by which the feminine is excluded as a possible object of love. (1997: 146 Melancholia, identification and 20 Masculine Psychosis
  • 21. Desire and GenderHomosexual desire, if we choose to stay within the classical Freudianparameters, presents clear incompatibilitie s with “gender Butler notes,“homosexual desire thus panics gender how can a (homosexually identified)man acknowledge and properly “grieve” the mother as a love object withoutsuccumbing to an identification which threatens to do away with his“masculinity” qua constituted both from the disavowal of a primordiallibidinal bond to the father, and from a repudiation of “femininity”? Cathexis – Love object Repudiate femininity but at the same time the mother is the love object, and he has his libidinal energy towards man. Melancholia, identification and 21 Masculine Psychosis
  • 22. Question?How can Reinaldo deal with the “panic” of mourning and recognisingthe mother as part of “himself” vis-a`-vis an identification which isclearly incompatible with his existence within the (heterosexualised )matrix of a “masculine” versus “feminine” identity? Melancholia, identification and 22 Masculine Psychosis
  • 23. MirrowingReinaldo fails to recognise the ways in which his “huidas” and“abandonments” (of the mother) cannot themselves avoid theidentificatory pattern (cannot themselves avoid “repeating” or“miming” the very model from which they wish to part). Melancholia, identification and 23 Masculine Psychosis
  • 24. Reinaldo’s self-confessed answer, as we have seen, is to run away, to “repudiate”: “My whole life had been a constant running away from my mother[…] [I] could only abandon my mother or become like her” Melancholia, identification and 24 Masculine Psychosis
  • 25. Conclusion “pervasive melancholia” which characterises a “masculine” versus “feminine” identity leads to the question of unconscious “miming”, of “repetition” understood in the Freudian sense of “acting out”: “Melancholy is both the refusal to grief”As Dylan Evans indicates in his entry on “acting out” in the Introductory80 “A BOY’S BEST FRIEND IS HIS (M)OTHER” Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis: “If past events are repressed from memory, they return by expressing themselves in actions; when the subject does not remember the past […] he is condemned to repeat it by acting it out” Melancholia, identification and 25 Masculine Psychosis
  • 26. Arena’sThe choice of sexual “promiscuity” in Arenas’s adult life, which at ananalytical level reproduces rather than challenges the position of (constitutive) grief that characterises the mother in regard to the lost husband/Phallus. Melancholia, identification and 26 Masculine Psychosis
  • 27. Problems What are the possible problems for the Oedipus complex in relation to the Melancholic theory? Sexist? Phalocentric? Psychoanalysis used as a medical practice is a form of social control? Which theory presents only one model for sexuality? Indigenous societies with a 3rd gender? Western- centered? Melancholia, identification and 27 Masculine Psychosis