In Our Time

“Cat in the Rain”: A Psychological Criticism 12th Grade

Modern psychology, although a relatively new and largely still-debated scientific field, focuses on not how people do certain things, but why. Most people would agree that modern psychology began with Sigmund Freud in the early 1900s. Freud’s most important work involves his belief in the subconscious mind—a place that, although we are not aware of the impact, secretly plays a role in the things we say, do, and even dream. Since then, psychology has continued to grow and develop thanks to B.F. Skinner, Pavlov, Maslow, and other contributors that have continued to evolve Freud’s initial thoughts and develop major strides towards figuring out why humans act and react in certain ways. Freud asserted that literature itself was a type of “day-dream” and that the author could be psychoanalyzed based upon their writings (Lynn 200). According to Lynn, the critic must “go beyond biological facts to expose the underlying motivation” (200). Furthermore, a critic could also psychoanalyze a character within the text to try to bring to the surface what the character’s true motives are, which can also give some insight into the author. In order to effectively perform a psychological criticism in terms of a character within a text, the critic...

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