I’ve been reading lots of Carl Jung for my dissertation, I’m writing about identity in The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman, and Jung seems to fit very nicely with several things I’ll be discussing, especially his concept of archetypes. As far as I can tell Death basically is the positive mother archetype, in fact I think the mother archetype is the reason Death is female within Gaiman’s universe, and Puck and Loki are of course trickster archetypes. The idea of the rebirth archetype will be very useful too, not just because of the number of rebirths, but because of how neatly it fits with the idea of the Cambellian hero-figure, a theory that has already been associated with The Sandman in several critical studies, and something I will be mentioning to some extent, but it is not just Dream that is reborn, and the rebirth archetype is much more than just physical reborht.
My reading has lead me to look at the personality types that have been extrapolated from Jungian theory, so of course I’ve seen what I am – two different test have told me I’m INTJ, so I more or less trust that, the personality types are one of the bits of Jungian theory I’m more convinced by. The description of INTJ is ‘the scientist’, which is not really how I think of myself, I always knew I’d come out as introverted, that was pretty obvious, but I’m apparently much more rational and judging than I thought, which is interesting. One of the things that would be interesting to do would be to sort various characters in The Sandman according to the +personality types, but I know it would have no actual value to my dissertation. At the moment it seems like lots of interesting things have no actual value to my dissertation.
The other concept that really interests me, and has ever since I first heard of it years ago, is the concept of anima and animus. For a start – how on earth does that work for people who do not identify as male or female? I don’t know if I’ll be able to discuss anima/animus in my dissertation, but the concept is interesting in light of a character such as Desire, who is both male and female, and that’s before even getting into the fact that of course the Endless aren’t people, they aren’t human, so really they don’t function like people, thinking of them as archetypes really does work well though.
The idea of the ego and the shadow could be useful too, because Jung wrote that the shadow of Jesus/God is the devil, and Lucifer is a fairly important character in The Sandman, and Gaiman does seem to follow the idea that God meant for Lucifer to fall, and so the ego really did create the shadow, just as Jung says. Again, really interesting, but I’m not sure how exactly it would fit into my dissertation.
Still, at least I’ve actually got a bit of the passion for my dissertation back, writers block is always bad, but when it’s writers block for a 10000 word dissertation due in just over a month it’s really, really bad. Hopefully now I’ll be able to get a proper start, next stop, a blog entry about Judith Butler and performativity.