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Thread: Stephen King's It vs Sigmund Freud's Id

  1. #1
    Wildökarudo Mercen-X's Avatar
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    Default Stephen King's It vs Sigmund Freud's Id

    So I was researching the Freudian terms and it is stated that id translates to "it". I have been contemplating the similarity of the term identity to the phrase "id entity". The former is a known constant among public awareness insomuch as it is held by a select group (grand or small) to be true. The latter denotes a physical manifestation of unbridled instinctual emotions such as fear, desire, and rage*.

    An id entity can have an identity. Pennywise is the identity of the id entity around which It's plot revolves. Being a conceivably demonic creature from what can be understood as a "fear dimension", Pennywise feeds on fear, choosing only to devour children whose fears (he) has piqued through (his) manifestations. Despite having the ability to express reason, the fear creature acts primarily out of desire, rage, and (in the end) fear.

    So what does any of this mean? Sometimes stories take on meanings never known or intended by their authors. While It weaves a tale of torment, not simply by a semi-demonic fearmonger but by an era of hostility, discrimination, and other shames, the depiction of the Losers' Club and the very title itself suggest that "It" resides within all of us.

    I'm not suggesting this hasn't been discussed before. Merely that this is the first time I've found myself taking a deeper look at this story.

    * Before people start Googling, I want to clarify: Wikipedia states the id is "the disorganized part... that contains a human's basic, instinctual drives... bodily needs, wants, desires, and impulses, particularly sexual and aggressive..." Although it does not explicitly mention fear, the id does seek "to avoid pain or unpleasure" the former implying a sense of understanding for and expression of the fear emotion.

  2. #2
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    My understanding is that It was Stephen King's attempt at a Lovecraftian style story with an entity that shape-shifts and feeds on terror. With that said, it's not a stretch to see that It does fall into some Freudian symbolism. Especially apparent in the novel where sex is used as a rite of passage for the Loser's Club and the fact that many of the members suffer from parental torments in addition to the titular creature stalking them.

    Granted, I'm not sure if this was King's intention, but death or the author and all that can make a strong argument for other meanings within the text.
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