Grandfather Freud’s look on Daria
In my last essay I showed how the characters tick in the show “Daria”. In this one I’m giving my explanation why they tick in this way, and the esteemed grandfather of psychology, Sigmund Freud, has agreed to help.
The oral character who is frustrated at the oral stage, whose mother refused to nurse him on demand or who truncated nursing sessions early, is characterized by pessimism, envy, suspicion and sarcasm. The overindulged oral character, whose nursing urges were always and often excessively satisfied, is optimistic, gullible, and full of admiration for others around him.
All right, here’s Freud’s description of the oral character. Does Daria match the following characteristics? Pessimism – yes, no one is going to argue with me about this, right? Envy – unlikely, although she sometimes may resent the attention and the good luck Quinn’s seems to be getting, like with a bridesmaid dress in “I Don't”. Suspicion – you’ve got to admit that Daria isn’t the most trust person in Lawndale. And sarcasm – no one’s is going to argue about that characteristic of Daria, will they?
Now Quinn. Always and often excessively satisfied – duh! She has everything that she wants. Optimistic – check, most of the time at least, gullible – yes, Daria and Jane demonstrate that in “Fat Like Me”, and as for being full of admiration for others around her – yes, the others mostly being Sandi and the Fashion Club.
Personally, I find this completely natural. Helen and Jake married in the 60s or early 70s, I believe, and were very uneducated in being parents. It's quite possible, I believe, that Helen decided to cut Daria’s nursing short. Considering that in my previous essay I pointed out that Daria may have a hard personality via genes, the sudden or maybe even premature cut-off from nursing would not do wonders to her.
Quinn, on the other hand, is the youngest daughter and complete opposite of Daria, as we often observe. To me, it is natural to suppose that Helen and Jake, having learned (in some way) from their troubles with Daria something about parenting, decided to go the other way with Quinn.
Then again, Helen and Jake aren't alone at fault with the way Daria and Quinn turned-out to be. In “Boxing Daria” we are shown that by ages six for Daria and four for Quinn, the two sisters have already realized how things tick in their family. Thus, as Daria continued to be obstinately determined to go on in her way despite her parents’ efforts, Quinn, quite possible, went the other way in order to win her parents’ favour over Daria. Thus, Daria’s actions influenced Quinn too.
As for Jane, her personality matches Daria’s quite closely, because of the reasons I spoke in the previous essay. Of course, the causes for this effect would be different, but I'm not surprised that Jane turned-out this way: Vince and Amanda do not strike me as the most reliant of the parents, I'll say this again. But it is slightly different with Trent.
If the parents are too lenient and the child manages to derive pleasure and success from this expulsion, it will result in the formation of an anal expulsive character. This character is generally messy, disorganized, reckless, careless and defiant. Conversely, a child may opt to retain feces, thereby spiting his parents while enjoying the pleasurable pressure of the built-up feces on his intestine. If this tactic succeeds and the child is overindulged, he will develop into an anal retentive character. This character is neat, precise, orderly, careful, stingy, withholding, obstinate, meticulous, and passive-aggressive.
Now if Jane’s an underindulged oral character, like Daria, then Trent’s an anal explusive character. Let’s check. Generally messy – just ask Jane. Disorganized – ditto. Reckless – yes, he is irresponsible, as the episode “Jane’s Obsession” shows. Careless – the same ep. Defiant – you’ve got to admire Trent’s determination not to do any work but his music, at which he simply sucks. So, apparently, this means that when Trent was potty-trained, he didn't enjoy it. But what would you expect from a boy who tried to live in a tent outside his house for no specific reason? ‘Course, this may be the norm for the Lane family, or at least the Lawndale branch of the Lane family, but this doesn’t make them any more sane than in my previous essay.
The phallic stage is the setting for the greatest, most crucial sexual conflict in Freud’s model of development. Fixation at the phallic stage develops a phallic character, who is reckless, resolute, self-assured, and narcissistic—excessively vain and proud. The failure to resolve the conflict can also cause the person to be afraid or incapable of close love; As well, Freud postulated that fixation could be a root cause of homosexuality.
Sandi. What do we know about her? In most fanfics the author make her the arch-nemesis of Daria and Jane as well as Quinn’s greatest rival; is it not because of the reasons above? Reckless and resolute? – she is rather irresponsible and unyielding, especially in the Fashion Club; self-assured, narcissistic – duh, thought after “Fat like me” this seems to be changing; Quinn’s actions did her good. And as for vain and proud – nobody’s going to argue with me about this, right?
As for the possible root of homosexuality, what can I say? Personally, that’s too deep for me, but I think I could find one or two fanfics in the “Outpost Daria” connection in which Sandi does turn to an alternative lifestyle.
What can I say in Sandi’s defence to make her appear not-so-bad? Just like with other characters of the show the roots of her problem lie in the family; in “Daria Dance Party” we see a flashback of Sandi and her mother Linda and get an inkling that with homosexuality issue aside, Sandi may’ve grown this way because her mother’s ‘helpful’ influence. On the other side, Quinn’s actions in “Fat like me” may remedy some of that damage. After all Quinn is a good person deep inside, just as Daria may not be one. (See my previous essay.)
The resolution of the phallic stage leads to the latency period, which is not a psychosexual stage of development, but a period in which the sexual drive lies dormant. Freud saw latency as a period of unparalleled repression of sexual desires and erogenous impulses. During the latency period, children pour this repressed libidal energy into asexual pursuits such as school, athletics, and same-sex friendships. But soon puberty strikes, and the genital once again become a central focus of libidal energy.
In the genital stage, as the child’s energy once again focuses on his genitals, interest turns to heterosexual relationships. The less energy the child has left invested in unresolved psychosexual developments, the greater his capacity will be to develop normal relationships with the opposite sex. If, however, he remains fixated, particularly on the phallic stage, his development will be troubled as he struggles with further repression and defences.
Now what? You may ask me? This is basically the end, believe me, you won't suffer from me and Dr. Freud for much longer. I merely want to point-out that while most of children in Lawndale High are in their latent stage, like Quinn, Daria, Jane, and Tom seem to have gone-on into genital stage, and seem to be functioning normally at last. Thanks god for that.