Date of Award

9-1991

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Supervisor

J. Sigman

Language

English

Abstract

This thesis explores the impact of Norman O. Brown's Life Against Death on Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. More specifically, it is an examination of how repression functions in the institutions of the family and society. Brown and Pynchon, fol lowing the central psychological concepts of Sigmund Freud, see the Oedipal complex as the fundamental source of human repression in both the family and society. The Oedipal project is responsible for not only repressing the individual's natural instincts, but also for the creation of the ego which is the seat of all social and moral constraints. Brown and Pynchon see the need to "undo" the Oedipal complex in order to break free from repression, but this break necessitates the loss of the individual's ego or self.

McMaster University Library

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