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This discussion addresses the following outcomes:
The 1857 Supreme Court decision Scott v. Sandford was significant in the decade preceding the Civil War. Those who instituted the case were concerned with the fate of Dred Scott and his wife, and also in exploring slavery’s legal limits. Scott v. Sandford opened the proverbial Pandora’s Box by revisiting and reconsidering the legal and political compromises that had occurred over the years. Its controversial outcome might have given the South more legal ground to stand on but also stimulated Northern opposition to the South and stoked fears about the “slave power.”
Consider, for example, the political cartoon above published by an unknown artist in Harper’s Weekly in 1860. The cartoon showcases the effect Americans believed the Dred Scott decision would have on the consideration of slavery in the 1860 presidential election. Harper’s Weekly (Links to an external site.) describes the scene as:
The burning question of the future of slavery in the United States was addressed by several of the contenders during the 1860 race. Here the four presidential candidates dance with members of their supposed respective constituencies. The music is fiddled by Dred Scott, the former slave whose suit precipitated the court’s decision. Scott sits on a chair at center. In the upper left is Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge. He is paired with Democratic incumbent and ally James Buchanan, depicted as a goat or (as he was nicknamed) “Buck.” At the upper right Republican Abraham Lincoln prances arm-in-arm with a black woman, a pejorative reference to his party’s alignment with the abolitionists.
At lower right Constitutional Union party candidate John Bell dances with an Indian brave. This pairing is puzzling but may allude to Bell’s brief flirtation with Native American interests. (For one instance of the use of the Indian as a nativist symbol see “Know Nothing Soap,” no. 1854-3.)
At lower left Stephen A. Douglas dances with a ragged Irishman. Associated with Douglas in several cartoons (see “The Undecided Political Prize Fight,” no. 1860-22) the Irishman, here wearing a cross, may be intended as a reference to Douglas’s backing among Irish immigrants and allegations of the candidate’s Catholicism.
In preparation for this discussion, read a few of the editorials from the Dred Scott portion of the Secession Era Editorial Project (Links to an external site.) compiled by the Furman University Department of History. You can sort either by date of publication or by newspaper and party (Republican, Democrat and American or “Know Nothing”). Be aware that newspapers back then were openly partisan, so the notion of detachment or objectivity does not apply. Read through at least the editorials, balancing Northern and Southern newspapers.
Please then read an excerpt of the Court’s decision at Key Excerpts from the Majority Opinion, Dred Scott (Links to an external site.) which should provide you with a good summary Chief Justice Roger Taney’s reasoning. In addition, be sure to read the Module Notes and Chapter 13: “The Sectional Crisis (Links to an external site.)” in The American Yawp and view Irrepressible Conflicts (Links to an external site.).
Using the primary and secondary source materials above as evidence, consider the following in a post of at least 250 words:
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Applying a Jungian analysis to characters gives us an opportunity to probe more deeply into various myths. The main elements found in a Jungian analysis of myths include the animus, the shadow, and the self. In this discussion, we are seeking to find and identify the characters of the animus, the shadow, and the self in the X-Files episode “The Erlenmeyer Flask.”
Scully is identified as a negative anima for the character of Mulder. For this discussion question, analyze the episode from Scully’s point of view, rather than from Mulder’s.
In your initial post, identify which characters in “The Erlenmeyer Flask” fill the role of the self, the animus, and the shadow for the character of Scully. Explain your choices and the purpose of each of these character types in this myth. Be sure to discuss why they are important.
We have acquired a great deal of information in this course through six modules of study. We have also found and explored a few ways of categorizing and analyzing this information, including a Rankian analysis of Hero Myths (Module 6), and Grimes’ categorization and analysis of negative father figures (Module 6). We now move to Jungian analysis, following the work of Carl Jung, and we will apply his approach by examining dreams as myths.
In our reading during this module from Chapter 35, we find out about Carl Jung and his approach to analyzing dreams. According to Jung, dreams have symbolic meaning. An example of symbolic meaning in a Jungian analysis could include dreaming about drowning, but never having a physical experience of it. The drowning in the dream could symbolize events in the person’s life that are making him or her feel trapped, “sucked under” the surface, or other events that cause anxiety. When a person dreams of flying, this may be a symbol of freedom or facing a new challenge.
By treating myths as dreams and applying a Jungian approach, we are able to study a character’s psychic development.
Fairy tales and myths reveal hidden feelings and conflicts. Different characters in the stories can represent different points of view inherent in the internal conflicts of one main character. Jungian analysis says that all characters in a story or myth represent different aspects of the unconscious of a single person.
To begin a Jungian analysis, we have to first determine who is narrating the “dream” or myth. To do this, we should ask ourselves who we imagine ourselves to be within the myth. The character we most closely identify with is the narrator.
Once we determine the narrator, we move outward from the main characters and look at the interaction between these characters and the main character.
According to Jung (in Thury and Devinney, p. 632), characters can be treated as if they represent “the psychic potencies and personal tendencies” of the dreamer him/herself. The archetypes that we can look for in myths when conducting a Jungian analysis include the shadow, the anima (female)/animus (male), and the self.
When we begin assigning the Jungian archetypes of the shadow, animus, and the self, we start with the relation of these characters to the main character, who often is the hero. See Modules 2 and 3 for a refresher on the hero archetype and the Hero’s Journey.
Archetypes in Jungian Analysis
This table outlines the archetypes that we can look for in myths when conducting a Jungian analysis and includes the characteristics of the Shadow, the Anima (female)/Animus (male), and the Self.
The Shadow – represents frightening or hidden aspects of the person, qualities considered opposite to the person’s self image.
Same sex as the narrator/main character Unknown or little known attributes and qualities of the ego (the main character). When the character makes an attempt to see his shadow, the character becomes aware of the qualities and impulses he denies in himself but can see plainly in himself (541). The Anima (female) or Animus (male) – Anima belongs only to a man, but is the figure of a woman. Animus belongs only to a woman, but is the figure of a man. Leads to The Self.
Opposite sex as the narrator/main character Anima – personification of all feminine psychological tendencies in a man’s psyche. The Anima turns up behind The Shadow. It brings up new and different problems. The man’s Anima is, as a rule, shaped by his mother. A common negative Anima is the Witch. Negative Animas cause the male narrator to destroy himself. Positive Animas lead the male narrator to growth.
Animus – Male personification of the unconscious in woman. Usually appears as a muscled strongman, or a romantic hero, a wise leader, or a saint. The Animus is influenced by the female narrator’s father. The Self – this is the totality of the person. It is an inner guiding factor.
Same sex as narrator/main character The Self – inventor, organizer, source of dream images. The Self can appear as a helpful animal, a wise old man or woman, a royal couple, a rock, crystal or mirror.
When we start to apply a Jungian analysis to a myth, according to Thury and Devinney (p. 633), we should break the story into parts and look for points at which the main character/narrator changes, paying particular attention to the changes that take place because of an interaction with another archetype.
The Wicked Witch of the West, melting after being doused by Dorothy. From the first edition of The Wizard of Oz. Date: 1900. Author: William Wallace Denslow. Library of Congress. Image is in the public domain.
Our course text provides a good example of a Jungian analysis of The Wizard of Oz (on page 634).
The Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion are all animus archetypes.
The shadow and the self archetypes are closely linked. The shadow initially seems threatening to the narrator/main character, but when the narrator accepts the shadow and integrates the characteristics of the shadow into the narrator’s own understanding of himself (or herself), it becomes clear that the shadow has been part of the narrator all along.
While watching the X-Files episode “The Erlenmeyer Flask,” keep in mind that we are told in our readings that Scully is a negative anima figure because she interferes with Mulder’s understanding of the truth.
Once we identify the narrator, we can work our way through the remaining characters and identify them as the shadow, animus/anima, and the self. Identifying these archetypes allows us to analyze the interactions of these characters with the narrator, and we can determine their functions and importance within the myth.
Let’s move now to a hands-on application of Jungian analysis to “The Erlenmeyer Flask” episode of the X-Files as we find the animus, shadow, and self.
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