Among the Thugs and Sigmund Freud

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Sigmund Freud believes that every person experiences guilt in their life. He also says that people have an Id, Ego and Super Ego. A person could say that the hooligans which Bill Buford observes were governed by their Id when participating in the violent acts. The Id is the part of the mind which goes on instincts and is governed by the “pleasure principle”. Bill Buford experiences the influence of the Super Ego towards the end of his football reporting. Although the hooligans don’t feel guilt, Bill Buford feels guilt after his adventures with the thugs.

The hooligans who are part of the crowds at English football games appear to feel no guilt. It seems that their Ego has overcompensated for the Super Ego and it ended up giving to much power to the Id. In Freud’s essay “Civilization and its discontents” he concludes that the Ego ends up taming the Id. In the thugs of England’s football, it appears that their ego is not taming the Id. The crowd seems to be so caught up that the Ego cannot tame the Id in time for the violence to be halted. Even Buford lets his Id control him when put in the crowd situation.

Buford himself does not feel guilt the first few times of crowd violence he experiences. Buford starts to feel guilty for watching the violence and not feeling guilty. “The scene disturbed me. But it also disturbed me that other scenes had not” (299). He is referring to the scene where a shop owner is hurriedly attempting to get his children safe inside. When Buford is being beaten by the Italian police he remembers watching a Juventus fan in Turin going through the same type of violence that he is going through. Looking back at the boy in Turin, he mentions that he was “close enough to save the boy” (86) and he was “mesmerized by each image he saw”. Buford is controlled by his Id at the time of the Turin beating, but when he looks back on the beating and he is thinking rationally in the Ego, he sees that he may have made a mistake....
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