EatonFinal (1) - Muller 1 Maureen Muller December 3, 2009...

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Muller 1 Maureen Muller December 3, 2009 English 5610 Eaton The publication of The Temple of My Familiar in 1989 occurred shortly after Walker’s receipt of the Pulitzer Price for her novel The Color Purple. Walker felt the pressures of heightened expectations after the success of The Color Purple and the novel reveals her frame of mind: overambitious and, perhaps, a bit arrogant. The novel shows Walker’s construction of an overly complex metaphor and the subsequent forced nature of the plot into the metaphors rigid structure. The plot foreshadows the publication of a sequel, or sequels, and the irresolution of the characters’ spiritual journeys are also indicative of Walker’s plans for a great saga of epic spiritual proportions. Fancying herself the Wizard of the present literary cannon, she ventures into the left field of Oz and left the literary community scratching their heads, standing on the planes of Kansas. The poor narrative craft of the novel fails to match the achievement of the work’s metaphysical complexity. The adaption of Jungian psychology in the lives of characters conveys a level of superficiality in light of the lives of the protagonists, who are all rich, good looking and complaining about white collar problems. Rigid adherence to the metaphor requires constant allusions to the film and Jung philosophy, which sometimes manifest as contradictory forces. Walker’s metaphor appears erudite at first, but it is
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Muller 2 actually quite easy to grasp. Alice Walker’s The Temple of My Familiar, contains an extended Wizard of Oz metaphor to describe Jungian spirituality in each the four main protagonists: Fanny, the Lion; Carlotta, the Scarecrow; Zede, as Dorothy and Suwelo – the only character to achieve Jungian individuation – as the scarecrow. The numbers of allusions within the text are so abundant that extended discussion of each individual occurrence would require a great deal more time and the death of more trees – thus, only the obvious will be discussed here. The title of the novel The Temple of My Familiar, is the beginning of Walker’s mind games because it challenge the readers with the seemingly vague and obscure chapter that she uses to provide hints concerning the extended Jung/Oz metaphor. Walker uses the word “my familiar” to symbolize the Jungian Archetype called the animus or anima. The animus resembles the Freudian Id, a portion of the subconscious that is purposely repressed. Characterized by animalistic urges, sexual or primal instincts and unorthodox desires, Walker describes this archetype “I next imprisoned my beautiful little familiar under a metal wash tub, I paid little attention to the cold or the snow and did not even think how cruel and torturous for it this would be. Surely now it would not able to escape.” (117) Jung asserts that the human animus must be nurtured and cared for by the rational parts of the human conscious. He argues that prolonged repression of the
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EatonFinal (1) - Muller 1 Maureen Muller December 3, 2009...

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