August 27, 2008

Jung’s Archetypes and David Lynch “Wild at Heart”

Filed under: CMM4106 Psycho & Cinema,ECU MInT — steve @ 7:18 pm

Handout notes for week 6 discussion on scene 15 of David Lynch’s 1990 film “Wild at Heart” with reference to Carl Jung’s archetypes:

IntroductionJung on Jung and the difficulty of a single account of his ideas:

… As I cannot claim to have reached any definite theory explaining all or even the main part of the psychical complexities, my work consists of a series of different approaches, or one might call it, a circumambulation of unknown factors. This makes it rather difficult to give a clear-cut and simple account of my ideas. (Jung, 1952 ¶ 1) [italics added]

David Lynch on “Wild at Heart”:

“Wild at Heart is a love story that goes through a strange highway in the modern and twisted world” (cited in Universal Studios, 2005)

Some Jungian Concepts:

Collective unconsciousa universal psychic inheritance

Jung breaks down the psyche into ego, personal unconscious and collective unconscious (Boeree, 2006, ¶ 19). Collective unconscious can be viewed as a “psychic inheritance” (Boeree, ¶ 20).

In addition to the personal unconscious generally accepted by medical psychology, the existence of a second psychic system of a universal and impersonal nature is postulated. This collective unconscious is considered to consist of preexistent thought forms, called archetypes, which give form to certain psychic material which then enters the conscious. Archetypes are likened to instinctual behavior patterns. (Rothgeb, 2007, ¶ 62)

“Archetypes transcend historical and cultural boundaries” (Hockley, 2001, p. 65).

… synchronicity is easily explained by the Hindu view of reality. In the Hindu view, our individual egos are like islands in a sea: We look out at the world and each other and think we are separate entities. What we don’t see is that we are connected to each other by means of the ocean floor beneath the waters. (Boeree, 2006, ¶ 68)

Freud also noted that the id could be inherited (1923/1986, p. 461) [see APPENDIX].

Archetypessymbolic images of physiological urges

 ”… archetypes, as the structuring potentials of the unconscious, signify the existence of the unconscious through images” (Hockley, 2001, p. 60). “It works the way that instincts work in Freud’s theory” (Boeree, 2006, ¶ 24).

What we properly call instincts are physiological urges, and are perceived by the senses. But at the same time, they also manifest themselves in fantasies and often reveal their presence only by symbolic images. These manifestations are what I call the archetypes. (Jung, von Franz, Henderson, Jacobi and Jaffe, 1964, p. 69)

According to Hockley (2001, pp. 65-66) the most traditional way to organise the archetypes is from the outer world back to the unconscious: the persona, the shadow, and the anima/animus…

Persona - the mask we display to others

… the protective cover or mask (which Jung called the persona) that an individual presents to the world. It has two purposes: first, to make a specific impression on other people: second, to conceal the individual’s inner self from their prying eyes.  (Jung et al., 1964, p. 287)

Shadow - representative of our anti-social personal unconscious

The shadow is the personal unconscious; it is all those uncivilized desires and emotions that are incompatible with social standards and our ideal personality, all that we are ashamed of, all that we do not want to know about ourselves. It follows that the narrower and more restrictive the society in which we live the larger will be our shadow.  (Fordham, 1966, ¶ 10)

Ego and Shadow are personified by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the classic “good and bad” split in all of us. Mr. Hyde becomes a real danger to psychic health when the Ego itself screws up. … An inflated Ego projects its own irrational Shadow onto others and identifies them as evil. (Hyde & McGuinness, 1992, p. 88)

Anima - the feminine archetypical representation of the masculine unconscious

The compelling power of the anima is due to her image being an archetype of the collective unconscious, which is projected on to any woman who offers the slightest hook on which her picture may be hung. Jung considers her to be the soul of man … namely, a part of the personality.  (Fordham, 1966, ¶ 22)

“… the anima takes on the role of guide, or mediator, to the world within and to the Self” (Jung et al., 1964, pp. 181-183). “This positive function occurs when a man takes seriously the feelings, moods, expectations, and fantasies sent by his anima and he fixes them in some form” (Jung et al., p. 186).

Animus - the masculine archetypical representation of the feminine unconscious

The animus in women is the counterpart of the anima in man. He seems to be (like the anima) derived from three roots: the collective image of man which a woman inherits; her own experience of masculinity coming through the contacts she makes with men in her life; and the latent masculine principle in herself. (Fordham, 1966, ¶ 25)

Some of the Archetypal forms or patterns found in Wild at Heart:

Another approach for classifying archetypes is through a narrative theme: “… creation myths use differing imagery from one culture to another, and at different times. Yet at a deep structural level, the narrative content remains the same” (Hockley, 2001, p. 68). Henderson (Jung et al., 1964, pp. 117-121) also describes a narrative structure of the hero myth around a set of archetypal patterns.

Hero - “the ego’s triumph over regressive trends” (Jung et al., 1964, p. 120)

A concrete example of this distinction between archetypal form, which is more accurately termed pattern, and its contents, or image, would be the figure of the hero. Here, the image the hero represents the embodiment of the archetypal pattern. This image may shift and change, perhaps being – at one time or another – a warrior-hero, or a detective-hero, or even an intellectual-hero, and so forth. While the form ‘hero’ remains constant, the content, in this example the image detective, warrior and so on, is influenced by cultural factors. (Hockley, 2001, p. 61)

 The battle between the hero and the dragon is the more active form of this myth, and it shows more clearly the archetypal theme of the ego’s triumph over regressive trends. For most people the dark or negative side of the personality remains unconscious. The hero, on the contrary, must realize that the shadow exists and that he can draw strength from it. He must come to terms with its destructive powers if he is to become sufficiently terrible to overcome the dragon – i.e. before the ego can triumph, it must master and assimilate the shadow. (Jung et al., 1964, pp. 120-121)

“The ego’s rise to effective conscious action becomes plain in the true culture-hero. In the same fashion the childish or adolescent ego frees itself from the oppression of parental expectations and becomes individual” (Jung et al., 1964, p. 126).

“Mulvey points to two narrative functions, ‘marriage’ (and hence social integration) and ‘not marriage,’ a refusal by the hero to enter society, a refusal motivated by a nostalgic narcissism” (Neale, 1983, p. 14) [italics added].

Maiden - purity and innocence

The hero is often out to rescue the maiden. She represents purity, innocence, and, in all likelihood, naivete [sic]. In the beginning of the Star Wars story, Princess Leia is the maiden. But, as the story progresses, she becomes the anima, discovering the powers of the force — the collective unconscious — and becoming an equal partner with Luke, who turns out to be her brother. (Boeree, 2006, ¶ 44)

Mother - the nurturer and/or seducer

… The mother archetype has two aspects: she is both loving and terrible. Positively, the mother archetype has been associated with solicitude, wisdom, sympathy, spiritual exaltation, helpful instincts, growth and fertility; the negative or evil side of the mother archetype is associated with secrets, darkness, the world of the dead, seduction and poison. (Rothgeb, 2007, ¶ 68)

Trickster - the wicked and cruel, vengeful child-like archetype

The Trickster cycle corresponds to the earliest and least developed period of life. Trickster is a figure whose physical appetites dominate his behaviour; he has the mentality of an infant. Lacking any purpose beyond the gratification of his primary needs, he is cruel, cynical, and unfeeling. (Jung et al., 1964, p. 112)

Child - representative of hope and new beginnings

The purpose of the child archetype is seen as the compensation or correction of the inevitable onesidedness [sic] and extravagance of the conscious mind, the natural result of conscious concentration on a few contents to the exclusion of all others. Modem [sic] man’s developed will is described as affording human freedom, but also the greater possibility of transgression against the instincts. Compensation through the still exist- ing [sic] state of childhood is considered necessary to prevent the uprooting of modem man’s differentiated consciousness.  (Rothgeb, 2007, ¶ 114)

Further concepts:

Mana - spiritual power

It is curious that in primitive societies, phallic symbols do not usually refer to sex at all. They usually symbolize mana, or spiritual power. These symbols would be displayed on occasions when the spirits are being called upon to increase the yield of corn, or fish, or to heal someone. The connection between the penis and strength, between semen and seed, between fertilization and fertility are understood by most cultures. (Boeree, 2006, ¶ 29)

Personality Types - Extraversion-Introversion, Sensing-Intuition, Thinking-Feeling,

Jung’s work on identifying eight major ‘types’ (Hyde & McGuinness, 1992, pp. 82-85) was further developed by Isabel Myers into the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (CAPT, 2008, ¶ 4).

Self - the feeling of wholeness – the totality of the psyche

Dr. Jung has suggested that each human being has originally a feeling of wholeness, a powerful and complete sense of the Self. And from the Self – the totality of the psyche – the individualized ego-conscious emerges as the individual grows up. (Jung et al., 1964, p. 128)

Synchronicity - a meaningful relationship through symbolic meaning

“Dr. Jung put forward a new concept that he called synchronicity. This term means a “meaningful coincidence” of outer and inner events that are not themselves causally connected. The emphasis lies on the word “meaningful.”" (Jung et al., 1964, p. 211).

Syzygy –

2. pair of connected things: a pair of related things that are either similar or opposite  (Encarta® World English Dictionary [North American Edition], 2007)

Transcendence - “full realization of the potential of … individual Self” (Jung et al., 1964, p. 149)

In the case of an adult, a sense of completeness is achieved through a union with the conscious with the unconscious contents of the mind. Out of this union arises what Jung called “the transcendent function of the psyche,” by which a man can achieve his highest goal: the full realization of the potential of his individual Self. (Jung et al., p. 149)

“Wild at heart” Main Characters:

Sailor Ripley (Nicholas Cage) – A ‘Hero’ archetype’s journey: from being a provoked and rebellious “adolescent” lacking “parental guidance” [his snakeskin jacket symbolic of his "individuality and belief in personal freedom"]; through a growing awareness of synchronous events from the ‘collective unconsciousness’; to the identification of his ‘Anima’ and ‘Self’. Sailor’s encounter with Bobby Peru represented Sailor’s battle with his own ‘Shadow’. After his second prison term Sailor regresses back to his adolescent form until his final battle [against a collective shadow - or rather Sailor's inflated Ego's projected collective shadow] results in him seeing the “Good Witch” in a vision [the ‘Anima' as mediator to the ‘Self'] who guides Sailor back to the path towards ‘transcendence’.

Lula Fortune (Laura Dern) – Her ‘persona’ is initially that of the ‘maiden’ archetype [that is she needs Sailor to save her from her mother and tormented past]. She is Ripley’s projected ‘Anima’ and he her ‘Animus’. Together they form a ‘syzygy’ and through ‘transcendence’ they become the divine couple with acknowledgement from their son who represents the ‘Child’ archetype – that of hope.

Marietta Fortune (Diane Ladd) – Although Lula’s (overly) protective ‘Mother’ archetype, Lula sees her as the “Wicked Witch”.  Marietta is also Sailor’s nemesis [the negative ‘Mother' archetype] and also plays the part of the archetypical ‘Trickster’ whose object of desire is to thwart our Hero’s progress in identifying with his ‘Anima’ and his eventual finding of his ‘Self’.

Bobby Peru (Willem Dafoe) – Sailor’s ‘Shadow’ and all that Sailor hopes he need not be. Lula calls Bobby a “Black Angel” and warns Sailor not to hook up with him. Peru is an animalistic, amoral character who manages to tempt Sailor to perform an armed robbery with the real intent of killing him. The robbery is bungled, Peru is shot dead, and Sailor is sent back to jail for the second time.

Discussion topics – scene 15 “Wild at Heart”:

1. What does the pack of Marlboro cigarettes represent? How does this reflect Sailor’s persona?

2. What is noticeable about the shot where the gang members fade from view after Sailor has been punched-out and laid on the ground?

3. The Good Witch appears in a bubble in Sailor’s vision – what archetype does she represent and what concept do the lighting and visual effects describe?

4. What is noticeable about the ground that Sailor lies on during the vision of the Good Witch that gives the impression that it was not shot in the exact same location?

5. How has Sailor changed (emotionally and physically) after arising from his vision?

6. What happened to Sailor’s suitcase? What might this represent?

Other uses of symbolism in scene 15 that could be further explored:

Nine gang members confront Sailor in the street – why nine? Might that be a significant number?

The music that plays when Sailor screams out “LULA!” is reminiscent of which well-known rock opera? What famous movie is Sailor’s scream also analogous to?

What might Marietta Fortune’s hair and the fading of her image from the photo frame symbolise?

Sailor runs past and over several cars stopped in traffic to get to Lula – what might they represent?

We see Sailor and Lula’s son in the car – what does he symbolise?

Reference list:

Boeree, C.G. (2006). Personality Theories: Carl Jung. Retrieved August 9, 2008, from http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/jung.html

CAPT. (2008). About the MBTI instrument: Jung’s Theory of Psychological Types and the MBTI® Instrument. Center for Applications of Psychological Type. Retrieved August 20, 2008, from http://www.capt.org/take-mbti-assessment/mbti-overview.htm

Fordham, F. (1953/1966). Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. In An Introduction to Jung’s Psychology.  Retrieved August 10, 2008, from http://www.cgjungpage.org/index.php

Freud, S. & Freud, A. (1923/1986). The Ego and the Id. In The Essentials of Psychoanalysis: Selected and introduced by Anna Freud. London: Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis.

Hockley, L. (2001). Cinematic Projections: The Analytical Psychology of C. G. Jung and Film Theory. Bedfordshire, UK: University of Luton Press. [Week 6 Reading: Psychology, Psychoanalysis & Cinema.]

Hyde, M., & McGuinness, M., (1992). Jung for Beginners. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Icon Books. [Week 6 Reading: Psychology, Psychoanalysis & Cinema.]

Jung, C.G. (1952). Foreword by Dr. C.G. Jung. In An Introduction to Jung’s Psychology.  Retrieved August 10, 2008, from http://www.cgjungpage.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=852&Itemid=41

Jung, C.G., von Franz, M. -L., Henderson, J. L., Jacobi, J. & Jaffe, A. (1964). Man and his Symbols. London, England: Penguin Group

Neale, S. (1983). Masculinity as Spectacle: Reflections on men and mainstream cinema. In S. Cohan, & I. R. Hark (Eds.), Screening the Male: Exploring Masculinities in Hollywood Cinema (pp. 9-20). London: Routledge

Rothgeb, C. L. (2007). (Ed.) Volume IX (Part I) : The Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious. In Abstracts of the Collected Works of C.G. Jung. Retrieved August 10, 2008, from http://www.cgjungpage.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=854&Itemid=41#VolumeNinePointOne

syzygy. (2007). In Encarta® World English Dictionary [North American Edition].
 Retrieved August 26, 2008, from http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_/syzygy.html

Universal Studios. (2005). Wild at Heart: Collector’s Edition [DVD]. United States: Universal Studios.



… in the id, which is capable of being inherited, are harboured residues of the existences of countless egos; and, when the ego forms its super-ego out of the id, it may perhaps only be reviving shapes of former egos and be bringing them to resurrection. (Freud, 1923/1986, p. 461) [italics added]

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