Funnyhouse of a Negro Essay

Adrienne Kennedy
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In the following essay, Barnett discusses Kennedy's play in terms of the psychological theory of projecting one's hope's and fears onto others. This makes others into ideal or persecutory objects respectively, and focuses on treating others as objects rather than as a unified whole.

Adrienne Kennedy's characters speak obsessively of their own births as well as the births which are so often the deaths of their children. Their monologues focus on rape and incest, miscarriage and child murders. Such preoccupations psychologically paralyze the characters, fixing them at and regressing them to a primitive stage in development which Melanie Klein, a psychologist of the British object relations school, calls [in Introduction to the Work of Melanie Klein by Hanna Segal] the "paranoid-schizoid position," an infant stage which normally precedes integration. According to Klein, the life instinct and the death instinct, which are both present in the infant from birth...

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This section contains 4,545 words
(approx. 12 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Funnyhouse of a Negro Study Guide
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Funnyhouse of a Negro from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.