One of Criticism in Henry James' Washington Square using Psychoanalytic Theory - In such a place in America namely Washington Square, there is a story of family’s conflicts between the characters’ cauterisation towards their feeling. There are three essential characters, the young heiress Catherine Sloper, her father and her handsome and plausible suitor, though all the way through the novel a fourth character, Catherine’s aunt Mrs Penniman who tries to steal a slice of the action in drama through her imagination.
Furthermore, hence, the conclusion in Washington Square Novel based on psychoanalytic criticism in psychological trouble that called as delirium:
- In Washington Square, the eccentric and overly dramatic Lavinia comes to live with Dr. Sloper and his daughter, Catherine, not long after Dr. Sloper becomes a widower. Aunt Penniman functions as Catherine’s mother and when Catherine reaches late adolescence, aunt Penniman beings entertaining notion of Catherine meeting a young man, Morris, and embarking upon some form of romantic adventure. In this case, her neurotic symptom, delirium, influenced all the characters towards their relationships.
- The neurotic symptom’s delirium is experienced by one of the characters in the novel, Lavinia Penniman. She is the character who has excessively imaginative, unrealistic, eccentric, and melodramatic attitudes. Her consciousness, cognition for thinking, reasoning and perception seemly, may have trouble towards reality. She brought her strange attitudes, behaviours and thoughts in order to entertaining herself into her romantic adventure. As a psychotic who had delirium disturbance, she could not differentiate between reality and imagination. In her personality, the ego cannot be controlling, governing with the external world and her ego is not able to tolerate the tension in order to have normal mental behaviour. However, her attitudes, then, influenced another characters towards their relationships. Mrs. Penniman invented the idea of Morris and Catherine failing in love and realized this as best she could, all the while imagining herself as the ‘manager’ or director of a ‘drama’. In Mrs. Penniman’s world, truth is beauty and beauty is relative. Mrs. Penniman does not distinguish between shades of possibility or desirability. She prefers ‘first meeting’ and ‘last partings’ and, once the end of the engagement is inevitable, Mrs. Penniman looks forward to this as well, so long as there is ‘drama’. However, as the novel progress and Catherine reached the maturation of her awareness of Penniman’s scenario, she makes the disobediences against her delirium.