THE BEAST AMONG US
Personality is a set of characteristics that the individual has and distinguishes the individual from others. In psychology, personality has been studied from many aspects and theories have been established on this subject. Sigmund Freud that forms the basis of all theories has been studied over the concepts of id, ego and superego that affect the behavior and preferences of the person. Carl Gustav Jung, a student of Freud, began to oppose Freud's views in later stages, often rejecting Freud's views. Today the purpose of this paper is to express the character of Henry Fleming, the main character of The Red Badge of Courage written by Stephen Crane, in the light of archetypes that display Jung's basic human behavior.
To achieve this goal, I have organized my paper into two sections. In the first section, I am going to mention about our main character Henry Fleming’s characteristic properties in Red Badge of Courage. In the second section, I will tell you Henry Fleming’s psychological complexity in the light of Carl Gustav Jung’s thoughts.
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, a war novel, presents us with the hidden and terrible face of war. A youth named Henry Flemming enlists in the Union Army in hopes of achieving his visions of heroism and glory. Shortly after he enlists, the fact of his decision arises. But things make him bring a different state than what was planned by Henry.
He is surpassed because of his fear of death. During his first combat, he escapes from the battle field when the enemy approaches. He instantly notices that war is not what he thought. Henry does not stop retreating even after his mockery manages to destroy the enemy. After the first conflict is over, Henry is left be alone with his own conscience. He feels ashamed of not being brave and can not cope with what he did. He hates himself and regrets being cowardly. Henry is devastated when he sees that his friends around him are happy and proud of winning the war. We witness this feeling in the first paragraph of the 23rd page of our book: ‘The youth studied the faces of his companions, ever on the watch to detect kindred emotions. He suffered disappointment. Some ardor of the air which was causing the veteran commands to move with glee—almost with song—had infected the new regiment. The men began to speak of victory as of a thing they knew. Also, the tall soldier received his vindication. They were certainly going to come around in behind the enemy. They expressed commiseration for that part of the army which had been left upon the river bank, felicitating themselves upon being a part of a blasting host’. Henry regrets not being able to integrate himself into this cheerful and lively setting. With all these confused thoughts, Henry returns to his military group with a wounded head. Everything changes for Henry after he returns to his union. At the end of the book, Henry becomes a tyrant who proudly battles for his lieutenant. He realizes that there is no use in being cowardly. It is harder to deal with conscience than death. After this thought appears in his brain, he challenges defiantly to death. His regiment becomes triumphant in the final battle of the book, and Henry manages to seize the Confederate flag. The book ends with Henry worrying about his acts and deciding whether cowardice is to be acknowledged. I talked about Henry's inner world in detail. He meets an obstacle like cowardice while pursuing his dreams. In time, he overcomes it thanks to nature, conscience or a friend.
I will talk with you about Carl Gustav Jung's archetypes that display basic human behaviors, and I will try to solve Henry's psychological situation in line with this information. The archetypes, handle as a whole, portray the sum of the hidden forces of the human soul. The first source of all human life is the archetype, the unconscious; it extends into our lives from there. When we look at it from an evolutionary perspective, archetypes are the reactions of generations that have been going on for centuries to the situations they have lived. For example, fear of a lion is a simple example to give. Even if we have not encountered a lion in our lives, we are afraid of the lion. Because humans have feared lions for generations.
There are many archetypes (hero, parent, creator, magician etc.) but I will briefly explain the most important ones:
Persona(Mask): Persona is the mask we wear against society. It is the way we present ourselves to the world. For example, although Henry escaped from the first conflict, when he returned to his military unit, he hid what he had done by using the wound on his head. He wanted to show him as a very brave and perfect person. We do this often to avoid being accepted or excluded in the social environment we are in. Personality impairments may occur as a result of over assimilating the persona.
Hero motto: " Where there is a goal, there is also a way to be done.” His main desire is to prove one's worth through bold actions. His greatest fear is being weak and fragile. His strategy is to be as strong and adequate as possible. His weakness is arrogance and that he always needs another war to fight. His talent is competence and courage. Other definitions of personality are warrior, savior, soldier, winner and team player. For instance, this motto is actually what Henry is missing. Because he couldn't fight without fear. Throughout the book, he tried to overcome his fear, while doing so, he struggled with his conscience, which did not leave him alone, he was in more than one struggle, the real war and the civil war with man himself. The Civil War is harder than the real war for Henry Fleming.
Undoubtedly, we need to be careful about remembering that archetypes are found in our universal subconscious. Complexes are found in our personal subconscious; They are the core of unconscious emotions, repressed or forgotten memories, desires; they are independent of us. Complexes have positive and negative effects on us. When we go back to the book, maybe Henry Fleming wanted to go to war and be a hero because of his complexes. He just wanted to be appreciated by people. He was afraid to say that he was afraid on the battlefield, maybe it didn't even occur to his mind to share it with someone because he would feel humiliated when someone found out. Parts of him that were inadequate could be hit in the face. Complexes get stronger when we can't face such situations. I mean, we avoid complexes. According to Jung, the signs of complexes are ‘fear’ and ‘resistance’. We should know that the result will not be achieved by running away just like our our hero ‘Henry Fleming’.
To sum up, human psychology is a tough subject because it contains many ideas. By demonstrating the near relationship between Henry Flemming's cowardice and courage, Crane shows the way to understand that excellence is not a quality that is needed. During the battles in the novel, Henry 's perspective is unstable . A naive young man who expected to become a hero can suddenly be full of remorse. In the end, Henry finds strength to take on the challenge of mixed and reigning society and to be neither a hero nor a criminal. Henry manages to be the young man of his dreams by facing his fear. Fear can often contribute to great self-confidence and bravery, and Stephen Crane portrays the reality quite beautifully, which is why he is praised for the completely realistic portrayal of war.