is a work of art in words. It carries an influential and durable significance
through beauty or emotional power. It offers the reader, the essential insights
into the nature of human desires and feelings. The primordial framework of
literature was in the oral form. Later on, it was put into writing. Other forms
also include plays, novels, short stories, epics etc. Epistles, orations,
journals were also considered to be works of literature given that they were
is used as a tool by a writer to express his/ her thoughts, hopes and fears.
Some writers try to change the world that they live in, by being rebellious
with their words and also influence people to feel and think in the same way as
they do. Works are written not only to be read during the period the writer
live in but also for the time after. The
target audience are indigenous to different locales and not of a certain age
use certain themes in their writings that appeal to them and also their readers.
Some of the commonly used themes are
love, death, morality, religion etc. Often, writers seek inspiration from the
works of other writers and develop them further.
in England emerged during as early as 8th century with the
settlement of the Anglo Saxons and lasted until the 12th century .The
era was formally known as the Old English period. The Old English literature
consisted of sermons, biblical translations, translated Latin manuscripts,
Christian poetry etc. However the writers of the period were hard to find. The
acclaimed Anglo Saxon poetry was Beowulf
(written anonymously). Apart from Beowulf, the surviving examples of the oldest
English poetry belonged to Caedmon and Cynewulf.
Middle English period began by the end of 12th century. Geoffrey
Chaucer (1343- 1400) was the well known forerunner in the history of English
literature. He was considered to be the father of English literature. His Canterbury Tales still remain to be one
of the most famous works of all time. His contemporary poets were William
Langland, John Gower.
came the Early Modern period. This period was a pivotal period for the
development of Modern English. William Shakespeare was a prominent writer who
paved way for such progress. Therefore this period was also called The Age of
Shakespeare. Other noteworthy poets, writers, dramatists of the time were
Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, University Wits et al. The remarkable
accomplishment during the Early Modern period was the publication of the Authorized
Version of Bible by King James I.
Late Modern period made a tremendous turn in the course of English Literature.
Writers like Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope etc. had much to contribute to this advancement. Puritan
writer John Milton mainly focused on religion. His Paradise Lost is an epic poetry that talks about the downfall of
mankind and the birth of sin. Dryden and Pope were significant prose writers of
the period. Novel was established as a genre of literature in the time of
Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding. Romanticism and Naturalism became the trend
during the Age of Wordsworth. Wordsworth, S T Coleridge, Byron, Shelley were
the important poets who were born during that era. Periodicals came into
fashion with the efforts of Joseph Addison and Richard Steele. English
Literature continued to grow throughout the Age of Tennyson, Age of Hardy
gradually reaching its peak in the present age.
Literature began with the advent of the New Colonists who started writing for
the benefits of the native readers in England. The Literature of New England
was solely focused on building up moralistic ideologies amongst the colonists
directing them to lead life in a virtuous path.
approach of American Revolution and the spirit of independence was influenced
by the social and economic changes in the Nation. This improved state of nation
comprised of a set of remarkable writers like Thomas Jefferson , Alexander Hamilton
and the like. The then multifaceted President Benjamin Franklin promoted
American Literature through his own writings and also through newspaper and
on, American Literature started attaining recognition in Europe through the extraordinary
writings of Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper. American
Transcendentalism became deeply rooted by the efforts of Ralph Waldo Emerson
and Henry David Thoreau. The main concentration was on inculcating the
principles of reformation with relation to society , education and
19th century was a period of histories. Writers like Francis
Parkman, George Bancroft started reflecting the reality through the characters
in their books in a humorous way. This became a very popular medium amongst the
general public. Then came Edgar Allan Poe who gained more audience in the
European continent through his works of horror and mystery. Many other works
had symbolic significance and exhibited the exact atmosphere of the nation.
increasing conflict between the North and the South and the Civil war resulted
in the rise of Regional Literature. At the end of the war, literature had attracted
a massive audience of all masses. Regionalism was perfectly reflected in the
works of Mark Twain , most significantly in his Huckleberry Finn. Drama after the Civil War and the early 20th
century relied upon the plays of Shakespeare and the works of other continental
playwrights. American fiction became the voice of protest and doubt. Naturalism
and Realism was then preached through the works of Stephen Crane and his
mid 19th century , predominantly publicized poetry .Poets like
Dickinson and Ezra Pound etc, brought out a revolution in poetry. Imagism was
majorly employed in writings of that period. For years after World War I, there
continued to be rebellions. Therefore the writers built “New Literature”.
Realism, Symbolism were prevalent in most works. Ernest Hemingway and his
contemporaries incorporated new forms and ideas in their works. Eugene O’Neill
became a widely noted dramatist of the era. Theatre was enriched with comedies,
reform plays ,histories and tragedies which was further developed by other
dramatists like Tennessee Williams.
was too much violence in voice and action in some novels of World War II. After
the war, writers of color emerged putting off stereotypes of oppression and
slavery. The failure of the American Dream and the dissatisfaction in the lives
of people became a major theme in the writings of 1960s and 70s. Black/Dark
Humour was also in existence.
Literature of 1980s and 90s were years of African American(Toni Morrison, Alice
Walker) ,Native American, Asian American writers’ works. It also spoke of
Modern Literature played a significant role in the developments of cultural and
historical aspects of the society . Hypocrisy was prevalent. A special emphasis
was shown on identity crisis and the struggle for authentication. Works that
were written after the Civil Right Movement in the 1960’s focused majorly on
these themes. The period between 1950’s – 1980’s was a time of democratization
which offered opportunities to minority writers ,who went down in the history of
American Literature as promising authors . Similar progress was found in
Commonwealth Literature as well. This period also marked the emergence of acquired
literary theories like Feminism and Post Colonialism.
narrative techniques of the authors were exclusively influenced by the Civil
right movement. Works based on this theory were the remodeled notions of the
past concepts thereby paving way for newer ideas. The postmodern literary works
steered people’s vision of the world unlike the older notions. The old texts
were rewritten in different contexts.
following concepts were brought out :
Relativism is where the readers can relate
themselves to the characters .
Metafiction was also employed where the readers were addressed
indirectly through narrative devices. Intertextuality ,where association of
ideas between texts were made. Another
important features of postmodern literary pieces were parody and irony. Reality
was found to coincide with Imagination. There was also inconsistency and
disorder in few of the literary works.
was made on depthlessness which related to consumerism and commercialism along
with the disassociation of man from nature ,world and language. These theories granted
the creation of postmodern impulses like Expressionism,
Dadaism, Surrealism, Imagism , Futurism , Constructivism and the like .
of 19th century focused on subjectivity and promoted a subjective
perception towards the world in their writings. James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake is a forerunner of
postmodern literature. Works of Science Fiction depicting a utopian, dystopian
vision started to gain popularity as well.
was one of the most dominant theories of 20th century. It was formulated
by Sigmund Freud, a renowned Austrian psychologist who is also known to be the
father of psychoanalysis.
term psychoanalysis has variegated meanings. It emphasizes on – psychic
predeterminism and dynamics ; the role
of unconscious in determining the human behaviour . It is also a curative
method for the investigation and treatment of mental disorders. Psychoanalysis
comprises of sub theories such as ‘levels of consciousness’, ‘psychic structure
of personality’, ‘psychosexual development’, ‘defense mechanisms’, ‘theory of
instincts’. Much of psychoanalytic theory was derived from Freud’s clinical
experience in treating neurotic patients. He divided the mind into three
functional tenets – the id, the ego, the superego. The
correspondence of these functions determines one’s action and obvert behaviors.
is the initial agent of psychic drive. It is governed entirely by the pleasure principle with driven goals
focusing only on pleasure, while neglecting tensions and clashes adjoined in achieving
pleasure. It is the primary process that is irrational, illogical and filled
with fantasies. This part of personality is present at birth and belongs to the
unconscious mind. It is where the fundamental instincts seek their escape. The
instinct of id is primitive and brutal.
forms the second part of the personality that is partly conscious and partly
unconscious. It controls the approaches to activities under the id’s orders. It
is governed by the reality principle.
It is the secondary process that is delineated by logic and reasoning. The role
of ego is to mediate the conflict between the id and the super-ego.
third part of personality, Super-ego is the moral amend .It is partly unconscious
and partly conscious. It can be recognized as the voice of the conscience.
in general, man is a primitive being driven by pleasure seeking principles on
exposure to the outer world. Ego channelizes the demands of the id into
pursuits that are admissible to outer world that are being censored by the
compared the relationship between the structure of personality and the levels
of consciousness to an iceberg floating on water.
Fig1. Freud’s psyche theory : Structural-Iceberg
is not only a proficient and scientific discipline that prevails in our
culture, but a pattern of thought ,an advance to human experience that has
become a component part of our culture and affects the way we perceive
experiences of ourselves .
psychoanalytic approach to literature began with the theories of Freud and his
genuine interest in writers who used ideas as symbols which made sense only on
proper interpretation. This led him to make inferences on creativity and
creative literary criticism. The application of psychoanalytic theory to
literature became widespread. Many critics believed that psychological and
psychoanalytical theory could result in better understanding of literature.
poets and novelists like W.H.Auden, Henry James, James Joyce, D.H.Lawrence
relied on Freud’s models. Their writings provided a study of the characters in
novels and plays. These characters were believed to be the subdued aspects of
the authors’ psyche. The unconscious plays a role in creativity. According to
psychoanalytic critics such as Holland, the repressed whims and fancies of the
writer were projected onto the deeds of the characters. Later on, the focus
shifted from the psyche of the authors to the psychology of the readers.
is the retrospection of an individual’s personality and behaviour. Language and
description are essential to it. Psychoanalysis and literature as a whole
introduces a significant approach to the illustrations of suspicion on motives
and ideas underlying in the literary text. The process helps clarifying
literature on two levels, the level of the writing and the level of the
characters’ actions. The amalgamation of psychoanalysis and literature assess
the articulation of our private angsts with relation to culture and promotes a
perception of them as cultural formations. The most famous work of
psychoanalysis in literature is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
psychoanalytic criticism of a literary work concentrates on the text as a portal
into the mind of the author .It acts as a display of his or her particular
neuroses. Interpreting the text, then, becomes a manoeuvre in finding direct
and indirect manifestation of the author’s childhood traumas and psychological
instabilities and/or inconsistencies. Another way to apply psychoanalysis to
literary works is to consider the psychological makeup of the individual characters
within the work. To interpret a literary work is to analyze the degree to which
the work aims to strike the fears and/or desires of the reader. Hence, the
reader becomes the subject of psychoanalysis.
P. Freundlich, the author of the novel, Darkly
Dreaming Dexter was born on July 14,1952 in Florida . He later started
writing under the pseudonym Jeff Lindsay.
He graduated from Ransom Everglade School in South Florida, Middlebury College
in Vermont and Carnegie Mellon. He was brought up in Florida hence his Dexter
book series were set up in the exact milieu.
Darkly Dreaming Dexter is a 2004 novel written by Jeff Lindsay
,published in July 2004 by Orion Books Ltd. It is the first book of the Dexter
series about a serial killer named Dexter Morgan. It has been adapted into the
Showtime television series with the title Dexter
featuring Michael .C. Hall who played the title character. The novel was nearly nominated for a
“Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award ” for best first novel but it fell
through. Later it won the 2005 “Dilys Award” and the 2007 ” Book to TV” award.
novel was developed from the own personal experience of the author, based on
the observations he made on people with fake emotions at a civics group
luncheon. This became the base idea of Darkly Dreaming Dexter. The author had
incorporated the concept of “illegal laughter” in this novel which he learned
as a student of theatre at Carnegie Mellon. The main purpose of the concept was
to make the audience laugh and at the same time make them feel like they had
done something wrong. Thus he strived to make Dexter witty and humorous but weird
the reader out. His other works include Tropical
Depression: A Novel of Suspense, Dream Land: A Novel of the UFO Coverup, Time
Blender and Dreamchild. His Contemporaries are Bella DePaulo, Jeffrey
Cohen , John Lutz, Jack Kerley etc
Darkly Dreaming Dexter (2004) is the first book of Jeff
Lindsay’s Dexter Series. The protagonist of the novel is Dexter Morgan, who
works as a forensic blood spatter pattern analyst for the Miami – Dade Police
Department .He is also a serial killer/vigilante who kills murderers, rapists
and other criminals who have, had and will escape from the judicial system. Dexter’s
murders are prompted by his inner voice , the “Dark Passenger” which urges him
to satiate his homicidal tendencies on a regular basis.
was Dexter’s foster father Harry Morgan, who had taught him to channel his
homicidal urges in a “positive”
direction, where he could kill only the heinous convicts who were free to
commit more crime. Harry Morgan set forth guidelines for Dexter to freely
exercise his murders:
careful and precise
sure your victims are guilty
story begins with the investigation of a series of prostitutes’ murders. The
Killer is named as the “Tamiami Slasher”. Dexter’s sister , Deborah who also
works for the Miami Dade Police Department wants to become a homicidal
detective seeks his help in solving the case.
admires the killer’s style of chopping off the victim’s body parts, draining
the blood and refrigerating them. He finds the neat corpses appealing . One
night, Dexter follows an ice truck that was actually driven by the killer.
After that, the killer starts sending horrific clues as souvenirs. Dexter is
torn between helping Deborah catch the killer and his admiration of the
killer kidnaps Deborah and takes Dexter to the crime scene , where he reveals
to be the latter’s biological brother, Brian. The duo was separated after their
mother gets brutally murdered. Deborah’s colleague Migdia LaGuerta arrives at
the scene and gets killed by Brian. The novel ends with Dexter helping Brian
get away out of his loyalty for him.
says that ,”The Id, Ego and Super-ego together constitute the psyche”
in his 1923 book, The Ego and the Id.
An individual’s personality is made based on how well they work in
synchronization and when it malfunctions the personality gets deviated. The same
principle has been applied on the protagonist of the novel , Dexter Morgan who
is portrayed as a sociopathic vigilante but with a motive.
Freudian theory of Psychoanalysis proposes a three component setup that makes
up an individual’s personality namely the id,
the ego, the superego that is solely responsible for the way he acts/ behaves.
The id represents a resolute in the personality as
it is always present. The id by definition is the unconscious : dark, inaccessible
part of our personality .
The ego is the interface of the personality, the part you
usually show the world. It enforces a practical approach to the world. It works
to convert the id’s drive to behaviour with conscious awareness. It represents
reason and common sense, in contrast to the id. Its task is to balance between
primeval drives and reality while satisfying the id and super-ego.
The superego comprises that part of the personality, mainly
unconscious which includes the individual’s “conscience” that judges and
prohibits his or her drives, fantasies, feelings, and actions. The superego can
be thought of as a type of conscience that punishes misbehavior with guilt.
In the novel Darkly
Dreaming Dexter, the character of Dexter Morgan can be considered to be the ego, whereas the “Dark Passenger”, his inner voice that
persuades him to act on his killer instincts is the id. Dexter’s
foster father Harry Morgan continues to be the representation of the superego balancing the actions of
Dexter and his Dark Passenger.
Dexter, as a toddler witnesses his get mother brutally murdered
. He is found crying next to his mother’s corpse drenched in her blood. Harry
Morgan, the investigating officer shelters Dexter and raises him as his own
son. As Dexter grew up Harry finds irregularities in his behaviour. The trauma
Dexter went through when he was a child had influenced his personality to a
great extent that he started acting on his killer instincts. Harry makes up a
set of rules that he calls “The Code” which allows Dexter to kill only the
deserving criminals, so that he gets to have a normal life while still acting
out on instincts. Dexter grows up with Deborah , the biological daughter of
Harry Morgan. The Code remains a secret between the father and the son.
the demise of their father , the siblings start working together at the Miami
–Dade Police Department (MDPD). Dexter becomes the Forensic Blood Spatter
Analyst and Deborah , an investigating police officer. The job becomes the
perfect cover for him and also offers
him better chances to track down his victims through the MDPD ‘s criminal
database. He appears to be a geek , leaving no clue of his dark inner self to
the world . He continues on his cautious killing spree in order to satiate the
Dark Passenger. Whenever he is found to deviate from The Code , Harry Morgan
reaches out to him through flashbacks and hallucinations prompting him to act
on the intended plan.
purpose of this study is to advance the understanding of the human psyche with
reference to Jeff Lindsay’s Darkly
Dreaming Dexter. This research focuses on how an imbalance in the psyche
can create abnormalities in one’s personality. The psychoanalytic theory of
Freud has been applied to this text with the intent of making a study of the
same through the character/figure(s) found in the novel.