Psychoanalysis is the learning of unconscious thoughts of the mind that are used to release suppressed point of view from an individual. It was at first an idea from psychologist Sigmund Freud. He says that in what way the unconscious is the part of the psyche that holds repressed memories that have emotional impact on us even though we do not have access to them. They are our primitive feelings that we have inhibited from a young age up till now still touches our movements. This affects the way that we, as the observers, understand films as it all be subject to on our past experiences. Mainly the unconscious mind has prevalence over the conscious without us being anxious about it and take in the major part of us.
At the same time, we could say that our unconscious wishes and desires are precise by the Id, the unconscious part we are born with and makes us doing the method we do. As well the brain is self-possessed of the Ego and Superego. In other word, the Ego tries to conciliate the Id in truthful ways making a person be pleased and the Superego is the perfect individual that society creates. It is somewhat developed as we matured and it is what makes us feel embarrassed after doing something incorrect. To summarize, we can say that Ego and Superego are founded on adulthood and ethics and the Id is what we are born with. Sigmund Freud in his theory believes that an individual has a healthy personality when they progress without anxieties in reaching their goals. In his theory he uses psychoanalysis to describe one’s behavior .We can clearly see and relate Freud theory Id, ego, and superego in the movie “American Beauty”. The movie shows every concept of the brain, both conscious and unconscious. Lester is the one of the main character in the movie at the opening of the film, Lester is controlled by his Superego that is, being a “good civilian” in compliance to the society customs. Lester desire in wanting to be a good citizen is demonstrated by his introduction where everything he says is about “my” for example my name is Lester Burnham. When talking about his neighborhood he says this is my neighborhood and this is my street. Even though when talking about his life he said that this is my life.
In contrast Lester’s wife Carolyn represents his super ego she dictates to him about what he must be and what he must do. In the movie “American beauty” defense mechanism are used by the characters to cope with difficult emotional situations. Defense mechanism are unconscious psychological defenses. In essence defense mechanism are used by our ego to help reduce anxiety and to help one to maintain a good self-image. In addition when there is a conflict between the id and the superego it makes the ego unstable. The main purpose of these defense is to reduce our anxieties and to help us cope with life challenges. As we go into the film, Lester’s Id starts to reveal and later looks like he fail to recall about the existence of the Ego and Superego and just turns unconsciously, it could be going back to his teenage years no signifying what is moral or not or what society reflects. According to Freud “the id is not capable of thoughts but can form, for example, mental picture. The formation of such images and wishes id referred to as fantasy and wish fulfillment. (p79). We see that Lester in film fantasized on several occasions about seeing his daughter’s friend covered in roses. This is symbolic because he imagined everything that happened. A fantasy helps an individual to escape from their own reality of having to deal with a pressuring situation.
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The Id comes to control his character and all his movements are to please himself. Another example of Id we can see that at first he denied his love for Angela, on the other hand later in the movie he does not care about hiding it not even with his own daughter Jane. Id ends and Superego comes back. Freud mentions in his psychoanalysis “the superego is, in essence, a personal moral stander (p.80). We can see the example of superego when in the movie Angela admits that she is a virgin. She is sure that she wants to do it but then Lester refuses since it is not ethical. For him it was not his standers to make a young girl lose her virginity at that age for him in that way. Before we see that everything was about himself but later in the movie when he ask about Jane this makes him feels happy and starts to care about something else beside himself. I feel everything he did in that year by acting according with his Id was with conviction caused by his condition: all in his life was dead, and he needed somewhat different, he needed to feel thriving, do what he looked-for. According to Freud, “Superego does not have to be positive.” I found that Ricky’s dad cannot stand being or feeling uncontrolled, and to avoid it uses forcefulness. At the end of the movie it looks like he was just inhibited, and in actuality was homosexual. In the movie Lester was worried about morals and about what people thinks since he is married and also has a son. Later we see that he finally lets his Id go. We see in the movie that once Lester gets rejected, Ricky father kills him because he didn’t let him what he wished or desire for. He is angry because or a time he was getting what he desire for but he wasn’t able to anymore I feel that Lester was stuck in the phallic stage of development. Phallic stage is when “self-manipulating of the genitals provides the major source of pleasurable sensation” (p.85). This is quite evident as he develops unconscious desires for his daughter’s friend. This types of feelings as known as Oedipus complex which occurs during phallic stage.
The other fact that we see in the movie it’s about denial. According to Freud “denial is a refusal to face unpleasant aspect of reality or to perceive anxiety-provoking stimuli. (p.83) in the film Ricky’s dad was denial about the fact that he was getting money from other sources other than work. His dad wasn’t bothered about this. He was only wanted to know that he was able to hold down a job. Ricky’s dad was in denial about it. In the film colors and objects are used to convey messages. The red rose in American beauty signifies Lester’s lust and desires for Angela. The girl is covered in red roses in his fantasies. This seemed to be something that he was passionate about rather than his reality. At the beginning of the film Lester says he lost something but he wasn’t sure what and he desperately want it back. He later dream of going back to the “good school days”. This red rose could symbolize youth, innocence and purity. Red is also a dominate color to highlight all the central females in the movie. In the film Angela was surrounded by red roses in Lester’s vision and Carolyn wore a red velvet dress.
When Carolyn got caught, she was wearing a red dress. This was indicative of the fact that she was reliving the more exciting parts of her life with Kane. Had Lester not been murdered as a counselor, therapy would be the most effective treatment. It is the counselor job to help the client or patient to learn new ways of coping with stress, better communication skills, find different activities, amongst other possibilities. (PsychNet). Lester was concerned with his personal desires he needed therapy to examine his life more closely to realize where the problems were coming from and to try to deal with them more directly than to turn to outside influence which contributed to him harming his relationship with others.
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