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ALBAY N. G., Güleşce Ü.

Pamukkale Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi, no.56, pp.247-266, 2023 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier


This study aims to analyse Emma Donoghue’s Room and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter from a psychoanalytic perspective with a focus on the mother and child relationship. In the novel Room we witness the experiences, traumas, fight in the ‘’outer space’’ of a five-year-old boy Jack, along with his mother, Ma who spent her years in an eleven-feet room as captives. The inspiration of Room is the Fritzl case in Austria and in the real case Elizabeth Fritzl was raped and sexually abused by her biological father for 24 years and as a result of this disgusting systematic incest, she gave birth to 7 kids in the cellar of their home. Emma Donoghue’s gorgeous pen writes this heart-pounding situation of Elizabeth and one of her sons in a fictional way by naming them Ma and Jack. On the other hand, the Scarlet Letter deals with the intimate relationship of Hester and Pearl in an abandoned world. They are a reflection of each other as well as the voice of their conscience and a light of hope for each other to survive in a challenging society. Especially Hawthorne’s life overlaps with the relationship between Hester Prynne, Dimmesdale and Chillingworth in many respects, such as the observation of Oedipus complex. The writer reflects his unconscious personality on his characters by putting himself in their place through psychoanalytic theory. Both novels feature the identification of a mother with her child in an enclosed, isolated area as if they were imprisoned captives in their secluded rooms and demonstrate how they complete each other and contribute to each other’s self-development and transformation in the mother-child relationship under social pressure. Through the act of writing, the author expresses his/her desires and the words become his/her digging tools. Like an archaeologist, he/she digs for the past and wants to express the experience of the past. Therefore, he/she fantasizes and manifests his/her wishes in the form of art. For Freud’s informal talk called Creative Writers and Day- Dreaming which was given in 1907 and consequently published in 1908 as a written document there is a close relationship between unconscious phantasy and creative art and while we are reading a text, we understand the psyche of the author in a way. Because the desires of a man remain suppressed in his unconscious level of mind and when he produces something like an artistic work regarding a poem or novel, those desires and ideas rise up and come to the surface. While demonstrating both novels that bear the traces of Emma Donoghue and Herman Melville’s childhood traumas, this study also analyses how the fictional characters reveal their inner worlds, repressed desires, and feelings through their actions. Closely related to psychoanalytic theory, Nathaniel Hawthorne deals with the effects of social taboos and constraints on individuals in the expression of repressed feelings, desires and inward thoughts. He enables readers to go deeper into the complicated minds and psychological disorders of his characters with a focus on their later psychological transformation. Ma’s id, ego, superego, Oedipus syndrome that Jack lives, the dreams of the characters that unmask their unconscious starkly are touched upon in this study as well.