The Darling Essay

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Helene Deutsch has described a personality type which she designated the "as if" personality. These individuals exhibit a defective capacity to relate to others. Rather, they have pseudoaffective relationships through identification with, and mimicry of others.

Olenka, the heroine of Chekhov's "The Darling," is presented as an individual with the "as if" condition.

Such behavior is thought to reflect a defective ability to invest emotional interest in others, due to deprivation during the period of most intense early dependence.

Strong persisting needs for love, and a precarious sense of self, contribute to a tendency towards an imitative mode of behavior.

Source: Michael A. Sperber, "The 'As If' Personality and Chekov's 'The Darling,'" in Psychoanalytic Review, Spring 1971, pp. 15-21.

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