History And Mythology

Module 7

This discussion addresses the following outcomes:

  • Interpret the reactions to the Dred Scott v. Sanford court  case from several historical perspectives and consider the case’s role  in the sectional crisis over slavery and the 1860 election. (CO#4, CO#5, CO#6/Gen. Ed. Outcome 4.2)

The 1857 Supreme Court decision Scott v. Sandford was  significant in the decade preceding the Civil War. Those who instituted  the case were concerned with the fate of Dred Scott and his wife, and  also in exploring slavery’s legal limits. Scott v. Sandford  opened the proverbial Pandora’s Box by revisiting and reconsidering the  legal and political compromises that had occurred over the years. Its  controversial outcome might have given the South more legal ground to  stand on but also stimulated Northern opposition to the South and stoked  fears about the “slave power.”

Consider, for example, the political cartoon above published by an unknown artist in Harper’s Weekly  in 1860. The cartoon showcases the effect Americans believed the Dred  Scott decision would have on the consideration of slavery in the 1860  presidential election. Harper’s Weekly (Links to an external site.) describes the scene as:

The burning question of the future of  slavery in the United States was addressed by several of the contenders  during the 1860 race. Here the four presidential candidates dance with  members of their supposed respective constituencies. The music is  fiddled by Dred Scott, the former slave whose suit precipitated the  court’s decision. Scott sits on a chair at center. In the upper left is  Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge. He is paired with Democratic  incumbent and ally James Buchanan, depicted as a goat or (as he was  nicknamed) “Buck.” At the upper right Republican Abraham Lincoln prances  arm-in-arm with a black woman, a pejorative reference to his party’s  alignment with the abolitionists.

At lower right Constitutional Union party  candidate John Bell dances with an Indian brave. This pairing is  puzzling but may allude to Bell’s brief flirtation with Native American  interests. (For one instance of the use of the Indian as a nativist  symbol see “Know Nothing Soap,” no. 1854-3.)

At lower left Stephen A. Douglas dances  with a ragged Irishman. Associated with Douglas in several cartoons (see  “The Undecided Political Prize Fight,” no. 1860-22) the Irishman, here  wearing a cross, may be intended as a reference to Douglas’s backing  among Irish immigrants and allegations of the candidate’s Catholicism.

In preparation for this discussion, read a few of the editorials from the Dred Scott portion of the Secession Era Editorial Project (Links to an external site.)  compiled by the Furman University Department of History. You can sort  either by date of publication or by newspaper and party (Republican,  Democrat and American or “Know Nothing”). Be aware that newspapers back  then were openly partisan, so the notion of detachment or objectivity  does not apply. Read through at least the editorials, balancing Northern  and Southern newspapers.

Please then read an excerpt of the Court’s decision at Key Excerpts from the Majority Opinion, Dred Scott (Links to an external site.)  which should provide you with a good summary Chief Justice Roger  Taney’s reasoning. In addition, be sure to read the Module Notes and  Chapter 13: “The Sectional Crisis (Links to an external site.)” in The American Yawp and view Irrepressible Conflicts (Links to an external site.).

Using the primary and secondary source materials above as evidence, consider the following in a post of at least 250 words:

  • Based on the articles you chose, how did Northern and Southern newspapers argue that the Scott vs. Sandford  decision would affect the sectional debate? What previous political  compromises regarding slavery in the western territories would have to  be changed or at the least revisited in the wake of the case?
  • From the perspective of 1857, summarize the predictions of what the Scott v. Sandford decision would mean for the US.

paper #2

 

M7D1: Finding the Animus, Shadow, and Self in “The Erlenmeyer Flask”

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Applying  a Jungian analysis to characters gives us an opportunity to probe more  deeply into various myths. The main elements found in a Jungian analysis  of myths include the animus, the shadow, and the self. In this  discussion, we are seeking to find and identify the characters of the  animus, the shadow, and the self in the X-Files episode “The Erlenmeyer Flask.”

Scully is identified as a negative anima for the character of Mulder.  For this discussion question, analyze the episode from Scully’s point  of view, rather than from Mulder’s.

In your initial post, identify which characters in “The Erlenmeyer  Flask” fill the role of the self, the animus, and the shadow for the  character of Scully. Explain your choices and the purpose of each of  these character types in this myth. Be sure to discuss why they are  important.

Module 7: Module Notes: Performing a Jungian Analysis

We have acquired a great deal of information in this course  through six modules of study. We have also found and explored a few ways  of categorizing and analyzing this information, including a Rankian  analysis of Hero Myths (Module 6), and Grimes’ categorization and  analysis of negative father figures (Module 6). We now move to Jungian  analysis, following the work of Carl Jung, and we will apply his  approach by examining dreams as myths.

In our reading during this module from Chapter 35, we find out about  Carl Jung and his approach to analyzing dreams. According to Jung,  dreams have symbolic meaning. An example of symbolic meaning in a  Jungian analysis could include dreaming about drowning, but never having  a physical experience of it. The drowning in the dream could symbolize  events in the person’s life that are making him or her feel trapped,  “sucked under” the surface, or other events that cause anxiety. When a  person dreams of flying, this may be a symbol of freedom or facing a new  challenge.

By treating myths as dreams and applying a Jungian approach, we are able to study a character’s psychic development.

Fairy tales and myths reveal hidden feelings and conflicts. Different  characters in the stories can represent different points of view  inherent in the internal conflicts of one main character. Jungian  analysis says that all characters in a story or myth represent different  aspects of the unconscious of a single person.

To begin a Jungian analysis, we have to first determine who is  narrating the “dream” or myth. To do this, we should ask ourselves who  we imagine ourselves to be within the myth. The character we most  closely identify with is the narrator.

Once we determine the narrator, we move outward from the main  characters and look at the interaction between these characters and the  main character.

According to Jung (in Thury and Devinney, p.  632), characters can be treated as if they represent “the psychic  potencies and personal tendencies” of the dreamer him/herself. The  archetypes that we can look for in myths when conducting a Jungian  analysis include the shadow, the anima (female)/animus (male), and the  self.

When we begin assigning the Jungian archetypes of the shadow, animus,  and the self, we start with the relation of these characters to the  main character, who often is the hero. See Modules 2 and 3 for a  refresher on the hero archetype and the Hero’s Journey.

 

Archetypes in Jungian Analysis

This table outlines the archetypes that we can look for in myths when  conducting a Jungian analysis and includes the characteristics of the  Shadow, the Anima (female)/Animus (male), and the Self.

The Shadow – represents frightening or hidden aspects of the person, qualities considered opposite to the person’s self image.
Same sex as the narrator/main character  Unknown or little known attributes and qualities of the  ego (the main character). When the character makes an attempt to see his  shadow, the character becomes aware of the qualities and impulses he  denies in himself but can see plainly in himself (541).   The Anima (female) or Animus (male) – Anima belongs only to a man,  but is the figure of a woman. Animus belongs only to a woman, but is the  figure of a man. Leads to The Self.

Opposite sex as the narrator/main character  Anima – personification of all feminine psychological tendencies in a  man’s psyche. The Anima turns up behind The Shadow. It brings up new  and different problems. The man’s Anima is, as a rule, shaped by his  mother. A common negative Anima is the Witch. Negative Animas cause the  male narrator to destroy himself. Positive Animas lead the male narrator  to growth.
Animus – Male personification of the unconscious  in woman. Usually appears as a muscled strongman, or a romantic hero, a  wise leader, or a saint. The Animus is influenced by the female  narrator’s father.   The Self – this is the totality of the person. It is an inner guiding factor.
Same sex as narrator/main character  The Self – inventor, organizer, source of dream images. The Self can  appear as a helpful animal, a wise old man or woman, a royal couple, a  rock, crystal or mirror.

When we start to apply a Jungian analysis to a myth, according to Thury and Devinney (p.  633), we should break the story into parts and look for points at which  the main character/narrator changes, paying particular attention to the  changes that take place because of an interaction with another  archetype.

Image of the Wicked Witch of the West, melting after being doused by DorothyThe  Wicked Witch of the West, melting after being doused by Dorothy. From  the first edition of The Wizard of Oz. Date: 1900. Author: William  Wallace Denslow. Library of Congress. Image is in the public domain.

Our course text provides a good example of a Jungian analysis of The Wizard of Oz (on page 634).

  1. Dorothy – the narrator/main character – arrives and meets Glinda – the shadow
  2. Dorothy meets the Wicked Witch of the West – the shadow
  3. Dorothy is greeted by the Munchkins – the self
  4. Dorothy receives the ruby slippers – the self

The Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion are all animus archetypes.

The shadow and the self archetypes are closely linked. The shadow  initially seems threatening to the narrator/main character, but when the  narrator accepts the shadow and integrates the characteristics of the  shadow into the narrator’s own understanding of himself (or herself), it  becomes clear that the shadow has been part of the narrator all along.

While watching the X-Files episode “The Erlenmeyer Flask,”  keep in mind that we are told in our readings that Scully is a negative  anima figure because she interferes with Mulder’s understanding of the  truth.

Once we identify the narrator, we can work our way through the  remaining characters and identify them as the shadow, animus/anima, and  the self. Identifying these archetypes allows us to analyze the  interactions of these characters with the narrator, and we can determine  their functions and importance within the myth.

Let’s move now to a hands-on application of Jungian analysis to “The Erlenmeyer Flask” episode of the X-Files as we find the animus, shadow, and self.

 

View:

  • Required
    • “The Erlenmeyer Flask” The X-Files. Season 1, Episode 24. 1994. Director, R.W. Goodwin. Writer, Chris Carter.