Sigmund Frued's Defense Mechanisms In 'A Separate Peace'

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Sigmund Freud's defense mechanisms influence many ways of writing authors use today. These mechanisms are used in everyday life, somtimes not even noticing they are being used. Many of these mechanisms appeared between the characters in John Knowels novel A Separate Peace. The character Gene uses Sigmund Frued's defense mechanisms displacement, rationalization, and intellectualization which shows his emotional instability after the trumatic incident in the tree. Generally speaking, Gene is usually a well behaved, mature boy, however, sometimes in the novel he tends to lose temper. During these traumatic event, Gene uses the defense displacement. Displacement is taking out impulse on a less threatening target. An example of this is when Gene knocks over the chair at Leper's house. Gene and Leper got in an argument over Leper running away from the army, which leds to Leper accusing of Gene of knocking Finny out of the tree. "Like,' now there was the blind confusion in his eyes, a wild slyness around his mouth, 'like the time you knock Finny out of the tree'" (pg 145) Gene becomes furious by…show more content…
In the story, there wasn't one day after the fall that Gene couldn't stop feeling guilty over the traumatic event. "I spent as much time as I could alone in our room, trying to empty my mind of every thought, to forget where I was, even who I was" (pg 62) Gene uses the defense intellectualization when runny the fall of Finny through his mind. Intellectualization is avoiding unacceptable emotions by focusing on the intellectual aspects. An example of this defense is when Gene keeps on non stop thinking about being caught guilty rather than Finny's shattered leg. "If anyone had been suspicious of me, I might have developed some strength to defend myself" (page 62) Gene was biting himself alive by guilt of him being the reason Finny fell, opposed to thinking about Finny's shattered leg and when it well
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