Little Hans Illustrates Perfectly Freud's Theories On Infantile Sexuality And The Perversions. Discuss

2478 words - 10 pages

"The discovery of infantile sexuality: a revolution and a scandal" (pg. 57, Reading Freud)Freud's work on infantile sexuality, at the time, was ground breaking and one of his most controversial and important works. Freud argued that sexuality is a key drive from birth and that it develops through a series of stages until it reaches puberty where adult sexuality is reached. He also connected what we class as perversions to the development stages of sexuality. Throughout this essay, I will discuss the development of sexuality and its perversions and discuss how Freud used the case work on "little Hans" to illustrate his point. Little Hans was the son of one of Freud's followers, Max Graf. Graf was concerned with Han's behaviour and his phobia, so discussed the case with Freud. Freud used this opportunity with Grafs permission to explore infantile sexuality and its impact on the child.We need to remember at the time of his work on the three essays of sexuality, it was the general opinion that the perversions were the result of degeneracy or it was an innate characteristic. Freud, in his essays on sexuality, puts forward the argument that these perversions are to be found in the person's psychosexual development in childhood. Firstly he explores what drives these forces and he discusses the notion of instinctual "drives" and "objects". He begins by differentiating between the sexual object which is the object of desire or the person, and then explores the "deviations in respect of the sexual aim" the act which initiates the drive.When we look at the observations of "Little Hans" made by his father, we are immediately made aware of the fact that he names his penis his "widdler". Hans goes on to classify all animate and inanimate objects based on whether they have a penis or not. This theory is soon challenged when Hans watches his sister having a Bath. "But her widdler is still quite small" (pg 11, the standard edition of complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud volume x).Hans is thrown into disbelief (Disavowal) and then consoles himself by saying, "when she grows up, it'll get bigger all right" (pg 11, the standard edition of complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud volume x). Here we begin to see signs of what Freud terms "castration complex". Han's interest in his own and others "widdler" shows a healthy sign in his psychosexual development but his phobia, which he develops, indicates that the neurotic symptoms have developed due to a suppressed desire. His interest suggests that he is now entering the phallic stage.Let us now look at Freud's theory on the infantile sexuality and its link with the case of "little Hans". Firstly what is Freud's theory? He suggests there are five stages in infantile sexuality and he explored this within his second essay. Stage one sees the infant get pleasure through breast feeding, the pleasure comes from the mouth or the feeding and was termed the oral stage. The second stage or the anal stage, sees the...

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