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The Impact of Repression on The Unconscious Mind

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Repression is the consent where a person goes through a traumatic experience so the person unconsciously pushes the information out of consciousness and becomes unaware of its existence, repressing them and leaving them in the unconscious mind. Sigmund Freud talks about repression himself in “Five Lectures On Psycho-Analysis”, this could be seen in Emily in “A Rose For Emily” by William Faulkner. Throughout the story, Emily ends up showing signs of repression when her affection begins to be ignored.

Emily and her father’s relationship is not the usual loving relationship between a father and daughter, instead, Mr.Grierson, her father, is very protective over his possession. Eventually, when her father dies is when Emily shows signs of repression, she denies the fact that her father is dead to avoid getting hurt, even if her father denied her the need of affection at the end of the day that was her father, and he was the only person she had. Denying reality was the only solution for her to be happy. Eventually, Emily acknowledges the fact that her father was dead and breaks down crying. Emily suffers from sexual desires because of the fact that her father kept her away from men for so long, meaning she repressed her needs away. According to Freud sexual repression often causes psychological damage. As Freud states that “The predisposition to neurosis is traceable to impaired sexual development in a different way”. Later on, Emily starts to show signs of her neurosis when she denies her father past away, and on top of that keeps the body with her, which the townspeople could smell. Neurosis, according to Freud “The complex which is thus formed is doomed to early repression; but it continues to exercise a great and lasting influence from the unconscious. It is suspected that, together with its extensions, it continues the nuclear complex of neurosis, and we may expect to find it no less actively at work in other regions of mental life”. In other words, Emily could of been stress and unsatisfied with the fact that she hasn’t been cherished by anybody.

This is where Homer, Emily’s lover, comes in after her father dies she goes on as choosing somebody who was the opposite of what her father liked it. When Emily falls in love and wants to share her sexual desires to her lover Homer Barron, she finds out that her romantic feelings can’t be return because of Homer’s homosexuality, cause of this then violence is shown in the story to Homer Barron who is poisoned, with rat poison, and then lay down in a bed and being taken care of as if he still alive. Freud points out that “The investigation of hysterical patients and of other neurotics leads us to the conclusion that their repression of the idea to which the intolerable wish is attached had been a failure. It is true that they have driven it out of consciousness and out of memory and have apparently saved themselves a large amount of unpleasure. But the repressed wishful unpopular continues to exist in the unconscious”. Emily receive the attention she needed, but once again couldn’t satisfy her needs because of the one-sided love, those repressed feelings finally got the better of her and she got what she wanted in her own ways.

In conclusion, the concept of Freud could be seen in “A Rose For Emily” through “Repression” because Emily’s affection was deeply ignored that it led her to her own craziness. Emily eventually repressed her sexual desires because of her father’s denial of her being a romantic relationship, which led her to become mentally ill and when she finally thought she found someone, she was disappointed and that was when she finally let go of her sexual frustrations. 

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The Impact Of Repression On The Unconscious Mind. (2022, April 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 16, 2022, from
“The Impact Of Repression On The Unconscious Mind.” GradesFixer, 11 Apr. 2022,
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