No Face, No Gain
In his short story “No Face”, Diaz explores how a man’s mental growth is stunted by his community’s perpetual scrutiny of him for reasons beyond his control. One’s superego represents societal ideals as seen by an individual and while No Face aspires to one day achieves his, he has been told since infantry that he will not before his face is restored. This story’s theme is that without the opportunity to satisfy the superego through societal fulfillment; a person may become supremely id driven and is likely to depend on defence mechanisms to cope, specifically regression in the case of Ysrael. Ysraels’s hyperactive id is seen in his consistently impulsive behavior and continuous fulfilment of the pleasure principle (Krapp 157). After scavenging for money, Ysrael’s first thought is whether to buy a bottle of soda or a johnnycake when he should be saving to afford his surgery (Diaz 154). Impulsive again, when he is driving as a motorcycle passenger with Padre Lou, Ysrael leans on their turns to create a more thrilling ride despite the padre’s warnings that this may tip the borrowed vehicle (Diaz 158). Ysrael thinks back to a moment when he had scratched the sores off of his litte brother’s scalp, a harmful impulse that is rooted in the displacement of Ysrael’s anger towards those who bully him onto the boy (Diaz 159). He has learned to surpress this id driven impulse but continues to fantasize when affectionately touching his brother. The id is immature and impulsive, just as the behaviour displayed by Ysrael. When a person reaches maturity they learn to control id impulses as their superego grows to provide a moral code and sense of reality (Krapp 157). Though Ysrael is learning through experience, as demonstrated in his resisting picking Pesao’s scalp, his id continues to control his conscious unless he is forced to see firsthand consequences like Pesao screams and blood. Without an unconscious reference prompting Ysrael to...
Cited: Diaz, Junot. “No Face.” Drown. New York: Penguin Group, 1996. p153-160. Print.
Krapp, Kristine. “Freud, Sigmund Schlomo”. Psychologists and Their Theories for
Students, Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 2005. p145-173. Web. October 23 2013.
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