Freud's Psychic Apparatus Through Dr. Seuss

Essay, 2011

9 Pages


Separate from the brain, the human mind has caused philosophical debate for centuries due to its metaphysical placement in space. Comprehending the exact nature of the mind troubles scholars for various reasons. Mainly, its intangibility causes confusion when conceptualizing its function and limits. Sigmund Freud, deemed “the father of psychoanalysis,” sought to limit this confusion and define what the human mind envelopes. Freud asserted that the human mind contains a vast and intricately designed layout which dictates human activity and interaction. Parts of this blueprint, or “Psychic Apparatus,” exist from birth while others develop throughout an individual’s life. Each piece provides humans with an array of separate mental divisions. These aid, and at times harm, human discretion. Freud’s model leads to understanding the fundamental process of reasoning at a basic level. The model also explains the cause of instinct, memory, emotion and morality.

Although highly regarded for his Oedipus Complex, scholars continue to debate the validity of Freud’s other studies. Namely the Psychic Apparatus. Scientists discredit Freud’s methodology during this study, partly due to his cocaine use. Scientists contemplate whether or not his drug use altered his thought process and inadvertently harm his studies and the results of said studies. But, “He pioneered a whole new way of looking at things,” according to University of Michigan psychologist James Hansell (Adler). Moreover, attacks against him typically aggress his personality rather than the validity of his theories (Boxer).

The first piece of Freud’s schematic is what he considered the “Id,” which causes the most basic of human nature and dictates desire. Thus, the Id is unorganized and composes a section of the mind uncontrollable to human discretion. This section operates around a “pleasure principle” which requires the human to avoid pain at all costs and seek pleasure without consequence; and Freud himself regarded the Id as “a cauldron full of seething excitations,” (Freud, pg. 73). The Id performs its duties selfishly and attempts to satisfy its own needs. This acts contrary to other parts of the mind, which use reason in decision making. The Id’s inability to use reason demonstrates its inferiority to the other portions (Cherry).

The Id acts only for self preservation and enjoyment, yet this is not to say the Id is unimportant. Instinct the Id provides at birth grants basic nature to survive. Certainly the Id is not capable of higher decision making, but the root of all desire causes drive in humans, a motivation enabling humans to accomplish tasks. Without determination, lethargic apathy would overtake the mind (Cash). This basic piece to the Physic Apparatus, along with the rest of the layout, is represented in one of the most unlikely of places.

Most readers know or recognize the Cat in the Hat. Although by Dr. Seuss wrote it for school children, the story line and characters illustrate Freud’s theory on mental divisions. In fact, they match the Psychic Apparatus perfectly. Seuss’s story represents much more than a wacky cat intruding on two children and their pet. The story translates Freud’s theory on mental divisions into tangible characters and their interactions. Freud’s Apparatus and the interaction of its pieces can be discovered in children’s rooms across the country.

The Cat from Dr. Seuss’s The Cat and the Hat describes Freud’s Id to perfection: the Cat simply wishes to have fun and enjoy the day without considering the destruction he causes. An energetic cat inviting himself into a home to use two young children for games not only demonstrates desire, but a sheer lack of common sense. When the Cat enters Sally’s home, he walks in and implores the kids to accompany him in a number of activities to cheer up the sullen children. The Cat attempts to do well and help the children have fun, but eventually the house is an utter mess. The Cat helps the children clean the mess but not without some coercion from an annoyed fish.


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Freud's Psychic Apparatus Through Dr. Seuss
Rockhurst High School
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ISBN (Book)
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freud, psychic, apparatus, through, seuss
Quote paper
Alex Burnham (Author), 2011, Freud's Psychic Apparatus Through Dr. Seuss, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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