Psychoanalysis of Frida’s Character in Drakulić’s Novel
Frida’s character is a character with double existence: Frida who really existed, and Frida, who is a character from the novel. Therefore, both the actions and features of the character in the novel and in herself will be put before the judgement of the psychoanalysis founder.
The story of first seeing the face of the pain, the leg paralysis, reminded me of one of J. Breuer’s patents. Miss Ana O. is the pseudonym of one of the patents in an advanced stage of hysteria (and obvious physical damages) who attends therapy with Breuer. Breuer’s patent suffers from arm paralysis, which later expands to her legs and so forth. For this paper, the start of her paralysis of the arm is important, as I connect it to the start of the paralysis of Frida’s leg. After years long therapy she attends with Breuer, he discovers that the beginning of the paralysis occurred with the beginning of the illness of her father with whom she had been very close. One evening while she was attending her sick father, she heard music and party from the neighboring house and she wanted to go there. She fell asleep with this wish and she subconsciously convinced herself that her morality would not allow her to do as her father was ill. When she fell asleep by her sick father, one of her arms was leaning on the chair, it went numb and subconsciously she found the way that would not allow her to go to the party – an arm paralysis. Freud has written on this subconscious refuse seeking in pain. He says that pain is an escape from the momentary situation. Illness precedes hysteria, which was considered a women’s illness in the beginning.
Frida’s father was an epileptic with permanent seizures of; while she was a child, her mother tried to hide them. She mostly remembered the day when her father and herself were alone and he had a seizure in the middle of the street, now that man, her father, dressed in an elegant, gray suit and white shirt, with a gold watch chain and silver tie lied in front of her, on the dusty pavement in front of the color shop. As the last of the drunkards, she thought, and she was ashamed of these thoughts… all of a sudden, she became feverish. She leaned against the wall. For a while she shook with her teeth clenched and her hands squeezed in fists... (Дракулиќ, 2004: 114) Being ashamed for having the wish to leave her father’s body lying helpless and leave, she was prevented by her numb leg. The numb leg, although not mentioned, I assume, comes from the kneeling position, when it is impossible not to go numb. The desire to leave at that moment is disabled by her numb leg and in this way her shame because of her desire to leave her father is blocked and subconsciously projected somewhere else and used as an escape. After this incident, she would constantly feel sorrow for him and he would no longer be invincible in her eyes. This would be the main reason why, although her leg would be largely affected by gangrene, she would refuse to have it amputated (as a part that reminds her of her father). The conscious blaming of her leg for all misfortunes is a subconscious return to her father’s misfortune. Also, the first thing that Frida painted was part of her foot. Guillermo, as a quite educated man was himself aware of this. Therefore, he would allow her from an early age to do things that were not typical for the female children at that period. His sorrow and pity (caused by his conscience) would be different than her mother’s care.