“The Egg” Psychological Analysis
Sherwood Anderson’s “The Egg” is a work that, viewed through the eyes of Freud, would have the theory of the tripartite psyche. The main character’s view of his father and mother inter play perfectly with Oedipal references. The character’s view of life in general is affected by his early childhood recollections and experiences, and Freud would have a heyday if this patient were on his couch. Ironically, the egg in the story relates to failures and destruction rather than the new life it should represent.
Freud’s tripartite theory deals with three parts of the human psyche: the id, the ego, and the superego. The id is the part of our unconscious that wants whatever it wants regardless of any consequences. It deals with the pleasure part of our brain. The ego balances the id by curbing the id’s impulses into socially acceptable behavior. The third part is the superego that also balances the id by acting as the part that delineates what is right and wrong. “The Egg” is written from the point of view of a man recollecting his childhood. All main characters, the child, the mother, and the father, have an id that shows its face at some point in the story. In the story, the mother and father’s id first become apparent in the second paragraph when “The American passion for getting up in the world took possession of them.”
The mother’s id is to have everything possible for her family. This is shown when the character states, “For father and myself she was incurably ambitious.” She seeks to gratify these desires by getting the father to “give up his place as a farm-hand, sell his horse and embark on an independent enterprise of his own.” She also made decisions for the family on impulse when “She talked of it for a year and then one day went off and rented an empty store building opposite the railroad station. It was her idea that the restaurant would be profitable.” She challenged acceptable...