Currently I am analyzing Little Bee through a Psychoanalytic lens. I have researched about this lens to get more background understanding of psychoanalytic criticism. However, in my research I have found very interesting facts about dreams and how dreams affect our living.
“Antti Revonsuo, a psychology professor and dream expert, hypothesized in his work The reinterpretation of dreams: An evolutionary hypothesis of the function of dreaming, published in the Journal of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, that dreams help us to survive. He speculates that they help us rehearse stressful and troublesome situations. By the time we’re awake, we have gotten a chance to practice dealing with the adversity that faces us. If we are encountered by a wild bear in our dreams and figure out a way to survive, we wake up more ready to face our responsibilities and life problems.”
This part of the article actually contradicts the character Andrew from Little Bee. Andrew is sometimes found by Sarah to be screaming at night. His dreams helps the reader predict that he is stressed and is currently going through some troublesome situations. Although before the trip to Nigeria, he was completely fine, but after returning home, he thinks of every way possible to help those two girls he could not help. However, at the end of the book, Sarah finds some files on Nigeria that Andrew had started to research. This reveals that Andrew was thinking hard about the situation in Nigeria, and shows why he had the nightmares. He was not able to let go of the past very easily since he was guilty of the idea that he had done nothing to help them. This also leads into “the unconscious”, a category of psychoanalytic lens. The unconscious is when people are motivated and driven by desires, fears, needs, and conflicts of which they are unaware. This also focuses on the patterns of behaviour that are destructive in some way.
Personally, I find it interesting reading a book thought the Psychoanalytic lens. This analyzes a lot about the characters in the book and how they perform their actions.
Some interesting facts are as follows:
“According to psychoanalysis, dreams may represent unconscious desires, fears and motivations. Many of these might not make it to the person’s conscious thoughts, but they can find their way to dreams as a self-knowledge mechanism that helps release mental and emotional tensions.
Are you interested in what your dreams mean?
Here are some tips about how to remember them.
- Keep a pen and notebook next to your bed.
- Upon waking, don’t get up and get moving too quickly. Stay under the covers and allow yourself to experience the feeling of being only half awake. This is called a hypnagogic state and remaining here can help you recall what you were dreaming moments before.
- Don’t pressure yourself to remember details. Try to naturally drift back into an emotional state. Pay attention to the way you feel.
- Write your dreams down as soon as you remember them, even before getting out of bed. Often times, we think we have a firm hold on our dream memories, only to find that they desert us while we’re brushing our teeth. Scribble down as many of the incidents, thoughts and feelings you can recall. Once you have the basics down on paper, more snippets will come back to you as you go about your morning routine.
- With time and practice, everybody can improve their dream memory. Get to bed a little earlier and give yourself more time in the morning to pay attention to what you could be learning from yourself in your sleep. “
“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.”― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
” You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.” ~ this particular part of the quote connects a lot toward the book I am currently analyzing, Little Bee. In my perspective, the whole story appears to be based off of sacrifice. If it was not for Sarah’s sacrifice of cutting her finger to save Little Bee, there would probably not be any continuation for Little Bee’s tale after that point.
Many of our parents might have sacrificed everything for us to have luxuries such as a good education, residence in a safe community, and freedom in a well developed country like Canada. We may not always acknowledge this fact, but after hard analysis, it is true that we are living in this safe country only because of them and the sacrifices that were made. Sometimes we may tend to forget, but the individuals who sacrifice everything for our benefits will remember everything that they would have done for us. For instance, in Little Bee , it is demonstrated that Sarah recollects her sacrifice on a daily basis that she did for Little Bee.
“When people asked what had happened to my finger, I said that Andrew and I had hired a scooter out there and been involved in a minor accident. My soul entered a kind of suspended animation…[At] night I did not sleep …”( Little Bee)
I hope no one has to ever face this kind of sacrifice for dreams to come true. However, I have recollected that the book that I was reading earlier in the year, The Namesake, was also based on sacrifice. Ashima and Ashoke get settled in America so that their children can have a good future. However, due to the fact that their children were born in a foreign country, America in this case, their children have no real connection to the country of India, their homeland. Gogol and Sonia’s lack of understanding of their parents’ sacrifice sets the plot to the novel where their relationships with their parents are not very strong. A clear example of this is when Gogol finds a better relationship with Maxine’s parents in comparison to his own, due to her American culture. Although the two stories differ in the way the main character acknowledges the sacrifice that was made, both stories show that sacrifice is essential in order to ensure the right steps toward achieving your dreams.
crossed-the-sea-and-then-they-put-me-in-here.” (Little Bee , 11)
To the women in Nigeria, horror is a disease and an illness that cannot be cured. It is mentally feared every minute during which they live. People living in developed countries are blindfolded from the truth of sexual abuse to females. We tend to think places like Jamaica and Nigeria as beautiful tourist spots, and especially, a completely safe one. It is almost like these countries are hiding behind a mask. It can be argued that everyone has the right to live in freedom and without fear. However, many of the people in Nigeria are in poverty due to other countries taking over what little wealth they have. For example, in the book Little Bee by Chris Cleave, America wants to build an oil company where some of the villages are located. The main problem is that there are families living at the location that they want the oil sites to be placed. On the other hand, the only way for the Nigerian government to make money is to make an oil company so USA can give them profit of their land. The decision that was made was to kill all these young families and make profit for their country. Even though the plan was just to kill them, the men took actions beyond their orders. When I say this, I mean they choose to rape them first then kill them, maybe because they wanted “joy” out of killing the innocent citizens. In the novel, the author has stated that some of these incidents were true; they actually happened when the oil war took place in Nigeria. Telling an individual that these horrific incidents actually happen does not make someone believe the story. They would think I was just reading an emotional non-fiction book. People in this world do not want to believe that the world is not safe. For instance, in the novel, Arthur and Sarah questioned these young girls until they actually saw that these men looked very aggressive. If I were in their position, I would also think that this would be unbelievable. I live in Canada, and though I hear many stories on the news about girls being sexually abused, I will not be as affected because I would only feel sorry for them. Currently after reading this book, I have changed my views on how I approach the everyday news. Recently, the rape incident that killed a young medical student in India fears me. I have never been so affected after I read, viewed, and listened about what had happened to her. I was simply not able to get it out of my mind that there are people in this world who seem to lack any empathy at all. If you have not heard of this incident and you want to know more about it, here is the link- India gang rape: six men charged with murder
After reading the link, I hope you can see how it relates to the story of the Little Bee except she only victimized her sister being raped. If only these stories could be more like the following:
Who am I to tell you who you are?
Usually, students in high school do not enjoy reading plays written by Shakespeare. In fact, many complain on how they are
boring and how the language is not very colloquial. However, this depends on the break down and complete understanding of what is being read. Almost every line in a quote can be summarized and explained in paragraphs.
One important line repeated often is “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (Marcellus, I, IV), which was said by Marcellus when he sees the ghost. It can be interpreted that the ghost is the evil spirit that has existed in Denmark. However, once the story begins to unfold, it is understood that the ghost is in fact an innocent spirit. In the olden days, people used to jump to conclusions that a ghost represents something evil. Why else would children dress up as ghosts on Halloween night and think that they are frightening? But in this tale, Hamlet was not afraid of an ‘evil’ that seemed to be portrayed by the unfamiliar ghost, shown by when he chooses to follow this ghost without any hesitancy.
Have you ever been told to not judge a book by its cover? Well, Hamlet is an ideal example of this, as he makes his own decision to discover the mystery of the ghost, instead of coming to a conclusion that this spirit is ‘evil’. In fact, everyone tends to make quick assumptions about another individual, and this can be seen regularly but on a much lesser scale. It can be argued that in school, students judge another’s personality by the clothes that they may wear, what hairstyle they have, or who they may spend time with. However, another kind of pre-judgement that also occurs is the judgement due to skin colour. An example of this is in movies, in which a person of darker skin colour is immediately associated with a rebellious character, regardless of how that person may actually behave.
I would like to challenge you to be like Hamlet’s character and seek that chance of getting to know someone, despite what their appearance may seem to tell you. It is not always easy, and it can even be a little bit scary to step out of your comfort zone, but recall the bravery that Hamlet had when he put his trust on a ghost. Always remember: “Judging a person does not define who they are; it defines who you are.”
Purity through Beauty? Or Weakness through Obedience?
In Hamlet, there are lots of connections to the concept of nature, and this is mostly demonstrated through Ophelia. Ophelia is symbolic to a flower, since she has the same characteristics of a flower. Ophelia shows that she is someone who is pure and delicate. Furthermore, she is always controlled by other characters in the play and does not seem to have any power over herself. For example, when her father Polonius tells her to stay away from her beloved Hamlet, she does so without question. She selflessly respects her father’s instructions and obediently responds by saying “I shall obey, my lord” (Ophelia,I,III), despite the way she truly feels about Hamlet.
Out of Will? Or Out Of Advice?
“Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself.” Marcus Tullius Cicero
Definition of advice ~ an opinion or recommendation offered as a guide to action, conduct, etc.: I shall act on your advice.
Advice is not always to be followed, for it is on the will of the individual to act upon what was recommended by giver of the advice. In this play, Hamlet Junior is given 2 pieces of advice from the ghost of his father, Hamlet Senior. The first piece of advice given to Hamlet was to seek revenge for his father’s murder; which was performed by his uncle Claudius. The second piece of advice was to leave his mother, Gertrude , to heaven. This is shown by the following quotes from the play:
“revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.”(Act I, V, 25)
“taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
Against thy mother , aught; leave her to heaven,” (Act 1, V, 84-86)
Hamlet Junior could have made his own choice of following the ghost, or, he had the choice to follow his own beliefs. However, he considered the ghost to be “an honest Ghost…” (Act I, V, 138), and therefore, chose to follow the given advice and fulfill his father’s wishes.