The Door And The Wall Vs The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty: The Power Of The Psyche

1581 words - 6 pages

Sigmund Freud, while developing psychoanalysis, identified the three components of the human psyche; the id, ego and superego. The id being the pleasure seeking part of the psyche, the ego being the reality principle and the superego as the moral principle. Author's H. G. Wells and James Thurber use the three components of the psyche to develop their fictional characters. H. G. Wells' The Door in the Wall highlights a characters search for balance in his psyche. Lionel Wallace is a confused man searching for an escape from the dreariness of everyday life. Similarly Walter Mitty, the main character from James Thurber's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, is searching for balance between his fantasy world and the reality he attempts to drive away. Through the development of each characters id, ego and superego the two authors depict men whom search for their ideal world. H. G. Wells and James Thurber illustrate the psyches' power by developing characters that have imbalanced psyches', which ultimately cause them to reject reality and flee to fantasy. Lionel Wallace and Walter Mitty each have a superego, which attempts to prevent their id from controlling them. Lionel Wallace is often found at a crossroad in his journey. Many times he finds the door to his utopia after his initial entry, however he fails to enter. Wallace's second experience with the door "¦marks the world of difference there is between the busy life of a schoolboy and the infinite leisure of a child"¦this second time [he] didn't for a moment think of going in straight away"¦ for one thing [his] mind was full of the idea of getting to school on time-set on not breaking [his] record for punctuality (108).Wallace's superego prevents him from fulfilling his desire to go into the door by maintaining his morals that it is wrong to be late for school. His third encounter with the door acts on the same premise. Lionel is seventeen years old and "it leaped upon [him] for the third time-as [he] was driving to Paddington on [his] way to Oxford and a scholarship" (107). Again he is unable to enter based on his morals enforced by his superego. Wallace must let the door go on this occasion because he must get to Oxford and receive his scholarship; not doing so would be unwise. As such Wallace's superego battles with his id to maintain a moral reality for him. Walter Mitty's psyche works in the same fashion. Mitty's superego is in constant opposition of his id. Following the conclusion of Walters first fantasy "he looked at his wife"¦with shocked astonishment" (88). He is confused about his surroundings that have been suppressed by his fantasy. Walter's superego pulls him out of his dream and leaves him in a reality he has no grasp on. He, like Wallace, has trouble suppressing his desire for a utopian world and therefore has a superego and id that are in opposition. However each character also has an ego, which disagrees with the other parts of...

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