Prof. Julia Elliot
November 15, 2011
“The Cavemen in the Hedges”
“The Cavemen in the Hedges” is a short story that contains many underlying themes of psychoanalytical theory. Themes of the “id,” a selfish, primal, version of one’s self concerned only with physical desires; the “superego,” part of a person’s psyche that is only worried about ideals and morals; and the “ego,” the rational part of the brain that attempts to satisfy both the id and superego natures make up an immense proportion of the breakdown of this story. Repression and other psychological defense mechanisms are also very important in the analysis as well.
The first display of the id is that of the cavemen themselves. Our cavemen are impervious to pain or discipline. They don’t seem to have any kind of mental sense at all (demonstrated by the college students trapping them by the usage of shiny objects). Kim describes them literally as “mother fuckers”, without any kind of sexual taboos or restraints. This means that if something amused or felt good to the cavemen, nothing else mattered. According to Sigmund Freud, our id is our primal nature, pleasure driven and without consideration of the reality of any situation. This embodies our cavemen as perfectly as is possible.
The id is also shown unrestrained again in the very unlikely character of Kim, the anal retentive housewife. In the beginning of “The Cavemen in the Hedges”, Kim is shown as very prim and proper. She is frightened and reproachful of the cavemen. Her house is always spotless and she is constantly reorganizing things, such as her furniture and spice rack. In her younger days, Kim was a rocker/delinquent and almost as wild as the cavemen. Somewhere between hocking spit on rich kids’ cars, doing drugs, and throwing rocks through corporate glass windows, Kim grew up and settled down. However, when our main character, (who remains unnamed throughout the story) claims he is not ready for...