Psychoanalytical Reading

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Psychoanalytical Reading

PSYCHOANALYTICAL READINGMidnight in the Garden of Good and EvilJohn Berendt

There are multiple conflicts in this novel. One major Man verses Self conflict lies within Danny Hansford, the prominant Id figure in the story. He displays critical moments of instant gratification. When he proposed to Bonnie, his girlfriend, he was rejected and returned home seething because he didn't get what he wanted when he wanted it (pg. 17). Whenever his Id goes unsatisfied, Danny tells himself that his life was worthless. "I ain't got nothin' to live for," he said. (page 136) His SuperEgo and Ego had been destroyed when his family abandoned him.Even though one may have a dominant SuperEgo or a balanced Ego like Williams, conflicts lead to the awakening of the Id. This can be seen in the main Man verses Man conflict in the story that occured in chapter 12. After a drive-in movie, "Hansford went wild" and "aimed it [Williams's Luger] directly at Williams." After three bullets missed their target, Williams "reached into his desk drawer and took out another Luger...and shot him." This debacle revealed both of the men's Id as they used their primitive impulses to either save their lives or to hurt others.

Danny Hansford - the TricksterFrom the beginning of the novel, Danny has been known as the violent character who was always "Trembling with barely controlled fury." (pg. 17) In his encounter with Corinne, Danny introduced himself as a mere boy who "smiled shyly". (pg. 129) But Danny's SuperEgo didn't last long. His Id surfaced again in page 139 when "he was utterly changed" and "a diabolical fire lit his eyes."

Jim Williams - the ShapeshifterFor the most part, Jim Williams was acknowledged as the hero of the story. He was always "unruffled" and walked with "an air of self-assurance" until he shifted from his SuperEgo to show an act of his primitive impulse. In chapter 12, Williams was charged with murder after he shot Danny Hansford in "self-defense". After this incident, the label of a hero has dissolved into a shapeshifter because the reader doesn't know if Williams truly shot Danny out of self-defense or if the act was a display of his unharnessed shadow.

Blanche Williams - the MaidenAs the mother of the well known Jim Williams, Mrs. Williams was the maiden of Savannah with her "apologetic manner" and "erect posture and the alert look in her eye" (page 198-199). Even after her son was convicted of murder, she stayed "a lady of considerable fiber and determination." (page 199) Her son even admitted that "Mother is always the belle of the ball!"



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