Tenar?s Psychic Growth Essay, Research Paper
?For most people the years of youth are characterized by a state of gradual awakening in which the individual slowly becomes aware of the world and of him or herself,? states Carl Jung in Man and his Symbols (pg. 168). This is usually accomplished through dreams or real events that foresees the future in a symbolic form. Tenar, later named Arha, was a little girl when she was taken to Atuan to become the new High Priestess. There she was taught the ways of the High Priestess, as she was to become one when she grows older. In Atuan, young Arha journeys through her mind and progresses through her psychic growth in order to leave her childhood. Along this road she encounters many characters that guide and mislead her as she grows. As one reads Tombs of Atuan, one may recognize that the story of Arha and her passage from darkness of her childhood world to the light of her mature world is structured around Carl Jung?s dream theories.
When Tenar became the ?Chosen One? for the High Priestess in Atuan, she was compelled to adjust to this new life and new surrounding. She was brought up in the Kargish lands with her family of many siblings and a mother and a father, but Atuan was a whole new place with mostly women training to be priestesses. As Jung puts it, ?When a child reaches school age, the phase of building up the ego and of adapting to the outer world begin.? (pg. 168). As Tenar was to become the next High Priestess she was led to live in loneliness as she was different from the rest of the priestesses in Atuan. She was made to live in her own dwelling, the Small House where no one else was to sleep in. Jung describes this phase of the building up of the ego, as the time when children feel different from their contemporaries, and this feeling of uniqueness brings sadness, that is part of the loneliness of children.
During Tenar?s first years in Atuan she wanted to discover herself by contradicting the rules of becoming a High Priestess. Tenar and her counterpart, Penthe, decided to evade their chores of weaving in the Big House and slipped out to the outer walls of Atuan, but their attempts to have fun were foiled by the High Priestess of the Twin Brothers, Kossil. Arha desired to figure out why she was there, and what her purpose was in Atuan. This process of self realization or coming to terms with one?s inner self is known as individuation, which begins with a wounding of the personality and suffering (pg 189). This wounding of the personality is caused by something external, and thus the ego, being obstructed from its growing, denounces God or someone of authoritative figure, and in Tenar?s case it would be Kossil. Tenar suffered a personality shock when Thar says, ?It is not fitting that you are seen climbing and running with other girls. You are Arha.? Implying that Tenar is not to associate with the other girls of Atuan. She is supposed to stay in solitude. Jung describes this as a time when everything is all right, but underneath the surface [Tenar] is suffering from boredom that makes everything seem meaningless and useless.
What was all this teaching for? Why did Arha, or Tenar, undergo something that seemed so endless and meaningless. It wasn?t until Arha was introduced to the ?Ring of Keys? that things changed. Arha was acquainted with something new from her personality that she didn?t know was part of the High Priestess?s duty. Le Guin correlates this part to Jung?s idea that: ?Through dreams one becomes acquainted with aspects of one?s own personality that one has preferred not to look at too closely.? This was his idea of the ?realization of the shadow?. Arha never looked into the idea that she would actually be able to have the keys to the Undertomb which would later lead to the Labyrinth. These keys unlocked the entrance to the shadow, the Labyrinth, surrounding her young, small ego. The Labyrinth exemplified her shadow, the unconscious and unknown personal attributes of oneself. As soon as she entered it she began exploring a whole new world, knowledge about herself increased and so did her, once small, ego. In the Undertombs she is met with a personified segments of her personality, whether it be a negative or a positive embodiment. The three prisoners are her negative shadow; dark, disheveled, dirty, criminal, MEN are what constitutes them to be negative. The aura of dark feeling enticed Arha?s negative personality to emerge with a rush of power as she sentenced the three men to death. Le Guin followed Jung?s view of the negative shadow, for as a person lives out her natural emotions and feelings, the shadow will seem to be a cold and negative individual, and thus will personifies pestilent understandings and negative thoughts that have been repressed in her mind. Yet shadows seem to have a positive side to ones personality, and in Arha?s case, Penthe is her positive self. Penthe says, ?I am afraid of the dark.? Penthe was Arha?s first guide to the outside, the light, compelling Arha to think about life outside but not as seriously as she does towards the end.
?The first time she entered the trapdoor (to the Undertombs) was hard, but not as hard as she feared,? (pg 42). Arha entered the Undertombs, the entrance to the shadow, everyday after it was first introduced to her by Thar. Intriguing her even more into the Undertombs was the big iron door, the passage to her own discovery of her dark, unknown personality. According to Jung, objects and people in such mazes or Labyrinths, usually are a manifestation of an aspect of the dreamer [herself] –an aspect that may have been a part of [her] childhood but was forgotten and lost long ago. [Her] childhood qualities suddenly disappear and [she] doesn?t know how or where they had gone. But the Labyrinth brings those lost qualities back, almost like a reincarnation, as a way for a child to pass childhood and emerge into the mature world. And when the narrator said, ?It still made her feel strange when Thar and Kossil spoke to her of things she had seen or said before she died. She knew that indeed she had died and had been reborn in a new body at the hour of her old body?s death?.,? it explained over the years of her childhood that she had been reborn and what she knew now was something that she knew long ago but had forgotten as she entered maturity, through her dream. Through the Labyrinth of her unconscious mind, she tried to discover her Self by exploring the darkness of the unknown through passages and rooms, in search of the other half of her personality, another aspect of her personality that fits in the whole puzzle piece of the Self. After Kossil told Arha about the other half of the Erreth-Akbe ring being in the treasury room, which only the One Priestess was able to go into, compelled her journey further, deeper in the Labyrinth, to discover this other half of herself.
She traveled through the Labyrinth for days, months and even years, everyday exploring more and more, finding new rooms, applying the guidance bestowed upon Arha by Kossil and Thar. But there was one day that was most the fascinating of her visits to the Labyrinth, when she saw light in the passages, something that was prohibited in the Labyrinth by the Nameless Ones. Fear as well as curiosity took over her as she traveled through the maze, and soon found what was generating the light, a man! No man was ever permitted to be in the Labyrinth; no one was allowed there but the High Priestess. This man, Jung would say, is Arha?s animus- ?the male personification of the unconscious in a women? (pg 198, Man and His Symbols) (a personification of the shadow). But Arha, not knowing what to do, acted on her own impulsive and acquired knowledge, and trapped the anima within the walls of the Labyrinth, thus introducing to Arha her evil side. She knew that if she trapped him there he would die, her Masters would avenge the disrespect shown by this stranger.
The stranger didn?t die; he was a sorcerer, out to find something. He was out to find the other half of the Erreth-Akbe ring, to complete Arha?s Self puzzle. But, as Jung said, the anima may be a ?death demon? out to lure the dreamer to a point of self realization that?s on the verge of death. Arha, so intrigued by the stranger, decided to keep him alive as she felt that she was to learn something from this stranger. But at the same time her evil personality was exposed as she began to use her powerful political force on Manan, her good anima. Manan is the anima in which is filled with help, trying to lead her into the state of womanhood that is found in the darkness of Atuan, where as Ged, the stranger, is her evil anima, trying to lead her into a state of womanhood found in the Inner Lands (pertaining to her inner self). Arha wasn?t to tell Kossil that the stranger was living, because Arha told her that he was going to die. If she did so, death would have been an item on the list for herself; Manan would continue with the downward motion of the sword without stopping it till it was dripping with the blood of the Priestess.
Jung says, ??the animus does not merely consist of negative qualities such as brutality. He too has a very positive and valuable side; he too can build a bridge to the Self through his creative activity.? That is exactly what happened with Ged. His purpose in her dream was to lead Arha to her inner self. He did that in such a way that made Arha think that he was almost brainwashing her with false ideas, which brought her to the conclusion that he was evil, but she soon learns to embrace him he turns into a positive figure. But, this evilness (an aspect of her personality) led her to believe that he was truthful in what he (her unconscious voice) was telling her. He is an embodiment of dreamy thoughts, filled with fervor and judgments of what life in the real world (the Inner lands/her inner self) ?ought to be?. He tells her of Havnor, a land of wild fantasies, with high towers everywhere, colorful roofs, mosaic bridges, a land drastically contrasted to Atuan, dark and elementary. In Jung?s terms, Ged is the fourth phase of the personification of the animus- the highest level- where he becomes ?the mediator of the religious experience whereby life acquires new meaning.? He is her guide to spiritual fullness, and to complete this last phase in the quest for womanhood, and an escape from darkness, Ged is responsible for convincing Arha to leave with him to the outer world, once the ring of Erreth-Akbe is combined. Ged explained to Arha that throughout her life she has been taught to be a slave of her own mind, that life outside is dead, something only a lost soul was to believe. But Arha broke free and followed Ged and his dreamy thoughts of the ?Inner Self?, out of the dark and into the light, killing the obstructions that once were part of her shadow, Kossil. And soon she had come to terms with her inner self as she was brought to the light, the outside world, the Inner Lands of her mind.
On the road to womanhood, Arha passed through various phases which would Carl Jung describe as one?s psychic growth. She passed from a young girl with little knowledge of her own self to understanding her inner self, a process (Jung writes in his Man and His Symbols) known as individuation, which Le Guin used to structure The Tombs of Atuan. Throughout this book Arha inched closer and closer to the realization of her inner self as she entered her shadow (her unknown personal attributes), and as she listened to those personifications, like Ged (her animus), that guided her and mislead her through the path of womanhood. ?Through him, [Arha] experienced the underlying processes of her cultural and personal objective situation, and found her way to an intensified spiritual attitude of life??.. [Arha] found the courage and inner broadmindedness to question the sacredness of her own convictions. Only then did she take in the suggestions of the unconscious, and only then did the manifestations of the Self get through to her, and she was finally able to consciously understand their meaning,? voices Jung in his book, which is exactly how Le Guin structured The Tombs of Atuan.