Poe's Short Stories

Modern Psychology and the Significance of the Other in Poe's Short Fiction College

According to the psychoanalyst Carl Jung, ‘man is an enigma to himself’.[1] In his seminal work The Undiscovered Self, Jung notes how man’s world revolves around what he believes himself to be, what he thinks is right and what he believes he is not, what he thinks is wrong. The latter are the differences between one individual and another, or perhaps one society and another. These differences include cultural, behavioural and situational discrepancies which sometimes urge one person to look down upon those who practice these differences as if they are the norm. People who are different, are often shunned by society and regarded as deviant to what is normally accepted. They become the Other, or the ‘shadow’, these derogatory terms suggesting negativity. However, Jung points out how this ‘inferior part of the psyche’ belonging to the other can be explored through an introspection of oneself, ‘by exploring our own souls’.[2] Therefore, Jung seemingly suggests that one is the same as the Other he looks down upon. One dislikes the Other, because one sees in the shadow certain traits belonging to oneself, which should preferably remain secret. The Other is a nemesis one must identify with in order to learn about oneself. So, what is...

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