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Defense Mechs In Lit Essay

1289 words - 5 pages

Who hasn't been hurt if their life? A loved one passing away, a lover tearing at the heart, a rejection of something desired. Everyone has certain stresses in which they have to deal with and react to. As the burden of the stress mounts, certain levels of anxiety arise. How do humans behave in the depths of this anxiety? People have developed varied counter measures called defense mechanisms in an attempt to confront their issues.Many of the theories behind defense mechanisms commenced with the work of Sigmund Freud. Freud believed that a conflict existed between the id, ego and the superego. This accounted for the anxieties within human existence. Freud stated that individuals use these mechanisms subconsciously, and that it is normal and acceptable to do so. Yet a metaphorical line can be drawn. A line where if crossed can be damaging to ones psyche. It may cause the individual not to deal with the situation or problem, but rather to repress them. Thus damaging the individual or those around him further. The repressor does not deal with his feeling directly. He hides them. Directs them using the mechanism.I will examine the use of defense mechanisms in the context of two works explored in class. These are the movie "The Fisher King" and David Hwang's M. Butterfly. Both of the lead characters in each of these works use defense mechanisms to mask certain pains that have caused conflict. There are parallels and differences in the comparison of the two.The days coming to an end. You've finished work and want some down time to unwind. So you get the wife and head out to eat. Sit down and relax for what should be an enjoyable evening. Yet, your serenity is obliterated, destroyed with the explosion of a gun.Parry's world is destroyed by the death of his wife in the Fisher King. He is committed to an asylum. When he leaves and enters the world again, his vision of reality is blurred. Parry develops a number of defense mechanisms in order to combat the war in his mind. Parry initially forms what is known as repression. This is the most commonly found defense mechanism. It is simply a repression of the memory. Basically, in essence, forgetting… The repression of the memory is not permanent, however, as it is stored in the subconscious and can inflict the subject at any time. The stored memories can often times be violent to the subject and can lead to a "blacking out period" in which the subject will awaken with no memory.Parry endured what seemingly was a classic case of repression. He would not think of his wife in a normal sense. He did not look back at fond memories or at the time they had together. He simply tried to forget her. And when memories resurfaced, he displayed classic examples of repression. The violent outburst followed by a period of time where the memory would again be repressed until the next emotional upheaval.But perhaps the more intriguing defense mechanism employed by Parry is that of fantasy. Everyone has fantasies. But...

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