Saturday 12 May 2012

The devouring unconscious


Marie-Louise von Frank, discussing 
Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince:
It must not be forgotten that the atmosphere of a milieu such as Saint-Exupéry grew up in was very disillusioned and cynical and that he usually moved in circles which looked at life as being important when one talked of bridge and money and such things. Therefore, he, in a way rightly, protests against it and clings to his inner artistic and total view of life, and is resentful and revolutionary against such adult life. One sees quite well how, in a subtle way, he mocks at the adult world and how to the point that is. But at the same time he does not know how to pull out of his childhood world without falling into the disillusionment of what he sees as the only value in adult life. If you combine this with the symbolism of the picture, it becomes even worse because the boa constrictor obviously is an image of the devouring mother and, in a deeper sense, of the devouring aspect of the unconscious, which suffocates life and prevents the human being from developing. It is the swallowing or the regressive aspect of the unconscious, the looking-backward tendency, which grips one when one is overcome by the unconscious. You could even say that the boa constrictor represents a pull toward death.

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