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Unformatted text preview: Holly Barnhill Fiction February 16, 2011 Critical Analysis Paper The 400-Pound CEO Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory has been used to explain different parts of people personalities. Freud divided our personalities into three parts: the superego, ego and id. All three parts work together in order to have good mental health and to have a good amount of psychological energy available (Structure). In the short story “The 400-Pound CEO,” written by George Saunders, the main character Jeffrey is a normal guy who struggles with these three parts of his personality, and eventually ends up becoming a killer. In the story, Saunders effectively illustrates how important it is for all three of these personality aspects to work together, and the tragedy that can result if one of these sanctions overpowers another. According to Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, we are born with our id. The id is defined as the personality aspect that tells us our basic wants and needs; however, it does not understand the reality of situations. Freud explains the id as, “the deepest level of the unconscious, dominated by the pleasure principle, with its object the immediate gratification of instinctual drives” (Psychoanalysis). Basically, the id only cares about what it wants or needs and does not take into account the long term effect one’s actions can have. The ego understands the reality of the situation, otherwise known as the real- ity principle, which means the ego will strategize a plan to help us get what our id wants. The ego is, “The most conscious system, mediates the continuous con ict among the ﬂ id, superego, and demands of reality” (Cloning). With the ego, we are aware of our thoughts, ideas and feelings. The superego demarcates the morals in which we learn- usually from our parents or society. In other words, the superego differentiates between right and wrong. The super ego “works to suppress the urges of the id and tries to make the ego behave morally, rather than realistically.” (Cherry). In the psychoanalytic theory, the ego helps to balance out the id’s wants and the superego’s morals. “The ego is the strongest so that it can satisfy the needs of the id, not upset the superego, and still take into consideration the reality of every situation. Not an easy job by any means, but if the id gets too strong, impulses and self gratifica- tion take over the person's life. If the superego becomes to strong, the person would be driven by rigid morals, would be judgmental and unbending in his or her interactions with the world” (Psychoanalytic). In the “400-Pound CEO” there are a lot of examples of Jeffrey using his super- ego. Throughout the story, the reader can tell that Jeffrey is trying to be a good person with good morals and wants to get through life without hurting anyone. One early ex- ample in the text is how Jeffrey thinks of Christ or Ghandi. He says, “When mocked, which is nearly every day, I recall Christ covered with spittle. When filled with lust, I re-which is nearly every day, I recall Christ covered with spittle....
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This note was uploaded on 02/22/2011 for the course ENGL 280 taught by Professor Elliot during the Spring '11 term at Columbia SC.
- Spring '11