Explore the way in which at least two writers engage with or reflect Freudian thought.
Sigmund Freud is to this day one of the most controversial figures in psychology, his theories
revolutionized the field and coloured every aspect of his world at the time. The goal of Freudian
therapy, also known as psychoanalysis, was to reveal repressed thoughts and emotions from the
subconscious to the conscious in order to free the patient from repetitive distorted emotions. This is
evident in both Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse and Rebecca West's Return of the Soldier, are
deeply couched in Freudian theory. Both novels explore the intricacy and complexity of human
emotion and thoughts, but more so the affect of life and tragedy on the human psyche.
Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse is a subtly nuanced character study of a typical middle class
victorian household, where plot takes a secondary role, and the innermost reflections and thoughts
of its characters are thrust to the forefront. Woolf, being a contemporary of Freud's, was well read
in his works and also a noted detractor of several of his theories. Many of her criticism stemmed
from Freudian approach to feminism, Freud being infamously known for his misogynistic views on
women. However in Woolf's era Freud had reached eminent status in his field with his ideas and
theories on the human mind being massively influential in society. This meant that when delving in
to the psyche of her characters, as Woolf sought to to do, it would be nigh impossible for Freudian
theories to not insidiously creep in to her work. Whether Woolf deliberately placed these theories in
her novel is inconsequential, the reality is To the Lighthouse is rife with Freudian theories. One of
the more infamous of these would be the depiction of Freud's oedipal Complex, defined by
Charles Ryecroft as “the emotions and ideas that the mind keeps in the...