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Synthesis Paper: Psychoanalysis Essay (Critical Writing)

Major points in the papers/ Summary

In ‘The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the ‘I’’, as revealed in the psychoanalytic experience of Jacques, the main argument centers on the cognitive development of a child. A child’s growth and development aspects follow various stages.

For instance, a small child may not be able to recognise its own image in the mirror because the child’s cognitive ability is not developed to perceive various situations. It is unable to construct ideas that can be connected with its mind. Ideal ‘I’, as used in the reading, refers to the state at which individuals can identify various situations they face.

An infant is not able to understand the images in the mirror because of its incapacity to sense information or images in the mind. Therefore, they cannot translate what they relate in the images into language because of their minds and cognitive ability, which is not yet developed (Jacques 2).

Differentiation between an organism and reality is manifested in the earlier stage of the formation of a child. Many parts are combined together to form a complete human being. Therefore, formation is something that is symbolised in a person’s dream. The id is the personality characteristic that makes individuals admire some things or want to achieve certain things in life.

According to Jacques, it demonstrates the fact that people act or react to certain situations because of their mental processes (3). Jacques argues that the id is based on fatality. People will also put their lives at risk to satisfy their desires. The id directs people besides affecting their cognitive or mental abilities to do or engage in some things.

Further, the author claims that the ego is centered on the perception and consciousness system that is organised by the reality principle. It forms a part of the personality that mediates the interests of id (Jacques 6). Experiences of people make them have certain predispositions about other people.

For example, people will not do wrong to others because they believe that this is not the right thing to do. According to Jacques, psychoanalysis is a complex concept. Therefore, people will always disagree in their thinking and reasoning. For instance, friendship and love must break, and people must show selfishness and jealousy as they aspire to meet their desires (Jacques 7).

In ‘Woman as a Sign: Psychoanalytic Readings’ by Griselda, women have been seen by their male counterparts as images, beautiful to look at, as defined by their looks and fancy dresses. These representations are illustrated in photographs and videos (Griselda 120). She argues that there is a difference between gender and sexuality. Gender differences are often illustrated on the masculinity and femininity of the people.

While sexual difference on the other hand is a socio-psychic construction of sexualities with its different positionalities, gender differences refer to the expectations or social constructions on what men and woman are expected to do in the society. For instance, the public discourse about men is that they are masculine and always the providers and heads of their family (Griselda 121).

Realism is a mode of signification: not a matter of style or manner. Therefore, representation of photographs and pictures should be based on reality and not illusions. The construction and presentation of the visual pictures are powerful tools of delivering the targeted message to the audience (Griselda 124).

According to Griselda, psychoanalysis is a tool that aims at bringing to attention historical and social structures that function beyond people’s level of comprehension or of the level of unconsciousness (Griselda 127). Unconsciousness is not only represented as objects of personalised interrogation.

It is also affected by how people view or perceive issues of gender and classes within their social systems such as family. According to Griselda, there exist ranges of conscious and unconscious ideas that oscillate in people’s minds that influence their behaviour. These ideas are motivated by the interest and desires of the people.

For instance, she argues that a child has an unstable and incomplete sense of what he/she is. Therefore, if given a mirror, he/she may not be able to comprehend the image in the mirror as being his/hers (Griselda 138). She also argues that, when people discover differences in their anatomy, they are traumatised.

Therefore, to end this trauma, they use defense mechanisms against such terrible knowledge (Griselda 139). For instance, people may pretend that they do not know such issues when they actually know about them. Thus, the same things come back to haunt them later. Other defense mechanisms appear through fetish in the photographs include portrayal of legs, shoes, and head among many others (Griselda 127).

Therefore, in summary, Griselda has used various pictures and photographs drawn by Rossetti in explaining how they influence the thinking of people. People have varying meanings on different pictures, which demonstrate psychoanalysis of their minds works once they are exposed to certain pictures. Construction of sexuality and gender is manifested in the photographs.


There are several similarities between the two pieces of work. They are both referring to various aspects of psychoanalysis. The authors have used different illustrations and examples in explaining what they mean by psychoanalysis besides showing how human beings construct meaning and perceptions of various issues that happen in their life.

They have both used the illustration of the mirror and child to explain the tenet of psychoanalysis. They hold the view that a child’s cognitive aspect in not yet developed in its infancy. Therefore, such a child cannot make any connections between various experiences and issues that happen within its environment.

For instance, when a child is given a mirror that reflects its image, it cannot construct the meaning of the image. It may not even know that the reflected image belongs to it because it is not yet developed in its cognitive abilities. However, as the child grows bigger and begins to develop its mental abilities, it begins to form relationships and hence the ability to question why things happen the way they do.

Secondly, both have indicated that the id is what pushes people to do certain things. People have a desire that they aspire to meet in their lives. For instance, the two have used the concept of the id, ego, and superego in their articles. They hold the view that the ego of people is founded on reality.

People will seek to know the reality and distance away from things that they feel are not conforming to their ideologies or ways of socialisation. Therefore, they have the discretion of choosing what is best for them and leaving what they feel is not right. To reach this far, they require to act on their arguments on moral or ethical standards that they have been socialised to agree.

The way people behave and respond to various issues defines who they are. They will often engage in actions that they feel are good for them. They are jealous. Often, they misunderstand or misjudge other people because of their actions. For instance, because of their differences in various issues, people often engage in conflicts and disagreements. They even criticise those that are philanthropic in the society.

Therefore, the way people think and receive various things in the society is different, as illustrated in Griselda’s article about women’s signs. People view women’s images and pictures in different ways. They take their looks and their beautifulness as the definition of women.

Therefore, they claim that men look at such issues to seduce or to enter relationships with them. Had it not been their beautifulness, men could not have had any interest in them (Griselda 126). Another similarity between these two articles is that human behaviours are constructed through their experiences. As they grow and socialise, people encounter various issues and experiences.

For instance, when a child is born, it does not know anything about what is going on even if it is taken through various things. At that time, the mind of the child is still not developed. Therefore, the child is like in a dreamland. However, after a few months after birth, the child begins to learn new issues in the environment.

It can now connect and form relationships between different things that happen in the environment. The mind begins to develop and grow into maturity. When fully grown into adulthood, the way of perceiving things also changes. It can now differentiate between right and wrong.


Some noticeable differences emerge between these two pieces of work. One of the differences evident in the two pieces of work is on the way the authors have framed their stories. The two articles talk from different angles though inclined on the same issue.

They use different contexts in their explanation of issues of psychoanalysis. Griselda uses an illustration of photographs and images of various women to explain how they are perceived and how other people think about them. On the other hand, Jacques illustrates her points through the mirror and a child. In the former, women are differentiated from men because of the way they appear and the way the images have portrayed them.

What goes inside the mind of the photographer is what defines the thinking and the cognitive perception of the people towards women. Women are beautiful with good looks. Therefore, this makes men be attracted to them (Griselda 120). This construction and mindset is exemplified in the various photographs and images of several women. The photos depict women as sexy people.

When men look at their pictures, they already form a perception in their mind. On the other hand, Jacques has depicted that human beings are directed by their different ids when it comes to pursuing their ends. They have an internal drive, which pushes them towards attaining some things.

Sometimes, this force or drive may not be fruitful. In most cases, the drive may make an individual engage in a bad action just to achieve that, which is desired and cherished. Selfishness is also part of human beings. Their ego, which should help them in reaching reality or truth, drives them towards making bad decisions that cause conflicts between people.


In conclusion, with a high precision, the two articles have managed to propagate or demonstrate the applicability of psychoanalysis in the real life scenario. The article by Griselda has conveyed its message in an interesting way through illustrations by use of various women’s images to show how they are thought to imply.

The article is informative especially on the ideas of sexuality and gender differences concerning how they were depicted in the form of photographs and images. On the other hand, Jacques’ article has high levels of precision and creativity. The use of the mirror has depicted and illustrated the unconscious and conscious states of children well.

They have also delved on the ego, as it is applied in people’s day-to-day living. I have enjoyed the readings, as they have expanded my scope of knowledge on the ideas of psychoanalysis.

Otherwise, any person who is interested in knowing or doing any research on the developmental stages of children will have an added advantage upon consulting the content of these two readings based on the way they approach the subject of children’s development.

Works Cited

Griselda, Pollock. Woman as Sign: Psychoanalytic Readings, in Vision and Difference: Femininity and the History of Art. London: Routledge, 1988. Print.

Jacques, Lacan. The mirror stage as formative of the function of the ‘I’, in Ecrits. Hammondsworkth: Penguin, 1977. Print.

This Critical Writing on Synthesis Paper: Psychoanalysis was written and submitted by user Brendon Love to help you with your own studies. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Brendon Love studied at Grand Canyon University, USA, with average GPA 3.76 out of 4.0.

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1. Brendon Love. "Synthesis Paper: Psychoanalysis." IvyPanda (blog), December 11, 2019.


Love, Brendon. "Synthesis Paper: Psychoanalysis." IvyPanda (blog), December 11, 2019.


Love, Brendon. 2019. "Synthesis Paper: Psychoanalysis." IvyPanda (blog), December 11, 2019.


Love, B. (2019) 'Synthesis Paper: Psychoanalysis'. IvyPanda, 11 December.

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