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"What Am I? What Do I Want?": An analysis of The Glassy Sea by Marian Engel
Växjö University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Humanities.
2001 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The essay is a study of The Glassy Sea by the Canadian author Marian Engel. The novel focuses on the main character's self exploration ans her search for identity. A Jungian approach to this novel is particularly appropriate since the author makes use of several achetypes and symbols. Moreover, the novel is presented in an introspective manner that brings to the mind the method of self-examination used in psychoanalysis. The essay studies the development of the main character's identity, Rita. Her quest can be summed up in two questions: Who is she and what does she want to do with her life? We follow Rita through a series of steps that will lead her to maturity and to an independant life. Her development takes place in stages and the essay focuses on four of these. There is a regularity of pattern at each stage; Rita lives in different homes where she is under the influence of a mentor, whose role model she accepts at first, submits to and finally rejects. Among the archetypal images that appear in the novel, we find that the mother archetype is omnipresent and that Rita's growth progress is strongly connected to the mother complex. The author also makes use of the egg, the rose and the sea symbols to underline certain aspects of Rita's development. The essay seeks to connect Rita's developmental phases to the initiation rituals and the individuation process described by Jung.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2001. , 33 p.
, Scripta Minora, ISSN ISBN 91-7636-298-1 ; 43
Keyword [en]
Marian Engel, Glassy Sea
National Category
General Literature Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-11016OAI: diva2:402018
Subject / course
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2012-02-21 Created: 2011-03-04 Last updated: 2012-02-21Bibliographically approved

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