Freud's Immortal Question: or, one student's adventures in higher learning.

Author:Lehman, David
Position::TUNING UP

To: Colleagues in the Writing Module

From: Jack Hexter

Many of you who have worked with Richard Treacy will be impressed by the progress he has made, as shown by his essay (below) on the take-home final (open-book, three hours).

Sigmund Freud asked, in evident exasperation, "What do women want?" Based on your understanding of at least three of the works we read this semester, how would you answer Freud's question? Be sure to give a title to your essay.

What Women Want

by Richard H. Tracey

Some would say they want to get married and raise a family. Others want to "have it all." I am not sure whether that is even possible, but it is the ideal pursued by some. I think the answer is more complicated than that.

It is hard to generalize about women, but I will try, because half of us are them, slightly more than a majority, and maybe even more than that according to demographic studies indicating that women live longer than men, and it is something like 50.2% versus 49.8% of the population. So technically it is possible that they could vote a woman president into office if they all stuck together.

When I think of Antigone, Major Barbara, The Death of Ivan Ilych, the Bible, and even Lucky Jim, looking for what they have in common, each woman is a unique individual, with an identity that sets them apart at the same time that they belong to a larger group, just like each of us who come from different backgrounds, and yet, as was mentioned in class, there is "unity in diversity" for despite our variegated pasts we share a "stake in humanity" by endeavoring to do the same tittle everyday things like brush our teeth, put on our clothes, and eat breakfast before we come to class on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 A.M. in Hartwick Hall.

Let me give an example. Of these various female characters. And what they want. Since that is the question. They all want to help. Anti-gone helps her brother, Barbara tries to help those whose souls need saving, Lady Britomart tries to help her family and herself, and Praskovya helps society by conforming with it. Also, Eve helps to fulfill human destiny by eating the apple, and Kurtz's fiancee in Heart of Darkness wants to help the war effort in the Congo by honoring Kurtz and the sacrifices he made.

Thus, each of these four women leads an individual life, with individual desires that sets them apart. One desires the ordinary, one the extraordinary; one desires to save souls, and one wants to be the center of attention.


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