3/18 – Response 2.4

March 13, 2019

Reading Assignment: Read the Elizabeth Bowen story “Demon Lover.” It is short, so it will be helpful to read it twice, to see how your interpretation changes once you know the ending. Take notes, as always, on the passages that stand out to you.

Writing Assignment: In a short response, describe how you might use Freud’s analysis of memory to interpret Bowen’s short story. Does the story bear any similarities to the case study Freud discusses in “Screen Memories”? Any significant differences? In particular, you might think of the idea of forgetting.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

15 Responses to “3/18 – Response 2.4”

  1.   JiaJun Lin said:

    Using Freud’s analysis of memory to interpret this “demon lover” reading, I was fascinated by the forgotten promise that she made decades ago. When she returned to her home town to retrieve important objects, she came across to this letter covered with dust, and it was a letter from a soldier who died in the war. In an unusual way, that letter was a key to unlock the hidden memories, from reading, she was haunted by her memories of the mysterious solider who she promised to marry twenty five years before, and she recalled this promise as strange.
    One of the similarities to the Freud’s study was that both memories had vivid visualization of color and objects, from the Freud’s readingx it was the yellow dress, from demon lover, it was the brass button on his uniform.
    The color and the objects played important roles in the memories because

  2.   Ayoub Janah said:

    The story of “The Demon Lover” by: Elizabeth Bowen brings up some important points of reflection and identity. It also has some connections to the other interpretation of “Screen Memories.” Well first off this story is taken place in London during World War 2. Kathleen Dover checks up on her house and to her surprise it’s pretty run down. The streets are empty, the house itself was boarded up. She described the place as “Dead air came out to meet her as she went in.” There were cracks to the structure of the house. Th bombs were still going off during this time and the caretaker was in vacation. Once in the house she saw a letter on the hall table. I believe at this very moment when Mrs.Dover picks up the letter she reads it discreetly. This letter was written to her and explains how her husband has left the house because of the war. It shows some significance of where the plot may be heading. But at the same time connects a few pieces. Once she looks at the date of the letter, it brings her flashbacks to her past. She remembers something significant that happened on that day. It may be something that isn’t as important as it may seem but she remembers it. For example, she remembers the soldier in the garden, and recalls the buttons on his uniform, but doesn’t remember his face. This connects back to Freud’s reading as you may recall only certain colors/objects; if only it means a significance to yourself based on your experiences. This letter though has unlocked a few of the faded memories. It was a key that unlocked the doors of the past for Mrs.Dover. Without this very letter it Kathleen Dover wouldn’t feel such an impact as she won’t remember anything.

  3.   Rawdah Rahim said:

    In her story, “The Demon Lover,” Elizabeth Bowen demonstrates a theme of conflict with the main character, Mrs. Kathleen Drover. Her memories impression her with guilt as she is left traumatized when she remembers the unfulfilled promised she had was mandated to keep. Continuously in a distorted position, her eyes see the world utterly different whether it’s of herself or others because the messages that the neurons send to her brain can only translate to worry and constant panic. She has been living an off-balance lifestyle that merges with expected stereotypical standards and personal desires. She created a false identity for herself to camouflage in and act as society found acceptable. Her expected duties required marriage, and she herself considered it as an escape. Later, she realizes that one satisfying others will never create happiness for themselves. So, this journey represents the probe of her unconscious.
    Kathleen is described in the story to be a “prosaic” (661) woman who’s normal expression was that of “controlled worry, but of assent” (662). She is someone who has always tried to be in control of her life. She maintains a routine and can professionally mask her worry and present a normal, stable character to the world. But, the reality of it is, that she’s been struggling with herself for a long time, worrying, upset and scared because of her continuous recollection of a repressed emotional event.
    The condition of the house can serve as a metaphor to represent the psyche of Drover; damaged. The battle scars left behind on the house, “bruise” in the wallpaper, “claw marks and the “cracks in the structure, left by the last bombing” (661) represent a traumatic experience that left behind a physical more obvious impairment to the home. But because of Drovers maintenance to keep calm and bright, it makes it difficult to understand her hurt and trauma. ” She slowly forced round her latchkey in an unwilling lock, then gave the door, which had warped, a push with her knee.”When she left the house 25 years ago, shutting those doors meant she was able to shut out any related memories associated with the past, but now, even with her doubts, she wants to be able to go back and relive what she forgot.
    In Freud’s text “Screen Memories, he explains that it’s obvious traumatic “… occasions of fear, shame, physical pain, etc., and on the other hand important events such as illnesses, deaths, fires…” (Freud, 117) Are expected reasons for people to remember these events because of the obvious trauma and effect it leaves on a person. Kathleen finds this memory to be so strong because of the emotional attachment she has to it that left her traumatized. She focuses on the event so much that she decided to come back to the house to find some common ground with herself, to move past and feel a sense of relief and self-forgiveness. In Freud’s text, when he is describing the yellow flowers that instantly brings back memories of his true love and childhood, he highlights that the hue of the yellow was not necessarily the same, but it still triggered his hippocampus. When Drover is finished with the house and ready to leave, she waits for her taxi. When she comes eye to eye with the driver, she begins to scream uncontrollably because she thinks the man is her fiance.It did not matter who the man was, but the figure of the man made her associate any man to her fiance. This shows how certain things don’t have to be precisely correlated for one to have a significant memory recollection. Also, we see in this event how Mrs. Kathleen Drover has released her emotions of worry and fear freely as she expresses it vocally. Freud’s interpretation of memories provides an interesting perspective and explanation for the way that Mrs. Drover responds to the memories she has associating with her past and present.

  4.   Rose Fattakhov said:

    In Elizabeth Bowen’s story, “The Demon Lover,” Kathleen Drover thinks about past memories, which could connect to Freud’s case study, “Screen Memories.” Kathleen returns to her home in London during the Second World War. She is disturbed by how dirty the house has become, and annoyed by the marks which the removed furniture has left. She feels a distance between herself and this place which should feel significantly familiar. Kathleen then finds a note addressed to her with no stamp. This is weird because there is nobody in the house and nobody knows she was coming to the house for a visit on this day. She goes into her bedroom to read the letter. The letter opens up her past which must have been pushed back into her far memory. The letter suggests that she is being observed by somebody for some time now, and this person knows about a promise Kathleen made a long time ago. She tries to ignore the letter, but once the clock strikes six, many of her past bad memories come flooding back. Her fiance is coming back whether she likes it or not, and he says “I shall be with you… sooner or later… you won’t forget that. You need do nothing but wait” (663). Kathleen tries to escape before her past fiance appears. She ends up in a taxi happy she has gotten away until she realizes the taxi is moving without her providing a destination. She realizes the taxi driver is her former fiance, and she begins to kick and scream as he starts “accelerating without mercy, made off with her into the hinterland of deserted streets” (666).

    Kathleen is obviously traumatized by her past with her former fiance. Freud suggests in his case study that “They report that the most frequent content of the first memories of childhood are on the one hand occasions of fear, shame, physical pain, etc., and on the other hand important events such as illnesses, deaths, fires, births of brothers and sisters, etc” (117). He is suggesting that what people remember has to have a certain significance even if it is not obvious. People tend to remember events which are major too. Kathleen’s relationship with her former fiance was traumatizing, so it was something she tried to forget, but was so significant she was not able to. We know she didn’t want to interact with him and tried to escape his visit, but ended up in his taxi. She was then screaming from fear as the story ended.

  5.   Brian Osorio said:

    Sigmund Freud had a whole thing about being able to recollect and recall memories. The women in the short story, “Demon Lover” was able to recall memories from entering a room she has not been in for a while (661). And she was able to remember her habits, a yellow smoke stain, and a bruise on the wall paper where the door would hit when opened widely. The guy in Freud’s reading was able to recall the memories as well as vividly as the women did, getting the colors and scenes of the situation right in their minds immediately. Sometimes we forget about things and it becomes stuck into our unconscious minds waiting to be brought up into the conscious mind. Although this may not happen immediately or randomly the person can have an event to trigger unconscious thoughts and it is this that happened with the women in the story with the letter. That promise she made may have been stuck in her unconscious mind only waiting to be recalled by the letter of the soldier. Once again the women in “Demon Lover” was able to recall what the soldier was wearing before he left, and the mood and emotions she felt as well, which in this case is very similar to Freud’s written story because the man in that story was also able to recall the memories with such vivid detail.

  6.   Navneet Kaur said:

    The story “The Demon Lover” by Elizabeth Bowen was a short story that showed a lady’s train of thought as she goes back to her old house. While she goes into the house the case study that Freud discusses in “Screen Memories” comes into play. A horrible past that she had once forgotten and was asleep was awaken. The triggers that the house set off exposed the memories that she painfully wanted express. I think the letter was the vital thing that pushed her to remember the past. As Freud mentioned in his study that many memories are suppressed and when things that can trigger them to come back is questionable. When the lady sees the letter she is confused about how the writer who is her ex knew she would be there. She didn’t want to recall anything about him and wanted to leave the house as soon as possible but didn’t want to leave without the items that she went to retrieve. Putting behind all the memories the letter brought to her she carried on. It is evident that the letter held significant memories that she didn’t want to remember. Freud’s case study was very accurate in presenting that the idea that the hidden memories can be brought back once something triggers it as the letter triggered the lady hidden memories.

  7.   jennifer gavilanes said:

    In Freud’s reading it was focused on being able to remember special memories that have meaning to you. In the story “Demon Lover” the women was able to remember memories. As well as she was able to remember her very specific traits and memories from entering a room etc. Now in Freud’s story the guy was able to remember very clearly from his past as well as his suroundings as in color and etc just as the women was able to do. The things we always cant remember are thought to be unconscious. And when a memory or a special event helps us recall this event it is considered to be our conscious mind. That promise she made may have been stuck in her unconscious mind only waiting to be recalled by the letter of the soldier. What they have both comparisons in is how vividly they both remember events from any small detail they recall they can visualize is the women and the man.

  8.   Veronica Pena said:

    The short story “The Demon Lover” by Elizabeth Bowen centers around a woman named Kathleen Drover. She returns to her London home after leaving it with her family because of war. In her deserted home she finds a letter that reminds her of a past fiancé that presumably died in war. The letter automatically reminds her of him and a promise she made to him. Since 25 years have passed she can’t exactly remember much about him. In Sigmund Freud’s paper “Screen Memories” he talks about how early childhood memories aren’t always true memories but are memories formed to suppress something traumatic or something our subconscious prefers to forget and replace. This connects with Bowen’s character Kathleen, and how she forgets memories that have to do with her past fiancé. The only thing she remembers is talking to him as he had to leave for war in the backyard of her house and wanting nothing more than to run back inside with her mom and sisters. Other memory that seems to jump out at her is a button from his uniform that she kept. The last thing she remembers is being described as “well behaved” when she discovered he died. She doesn’t seem to remember what he looks like. It’s as if her subconscious has repressed any memories she had of him because of possible trauma. She can’t remember why she promised to marry him either. Being back in her old house and receiving the suspiciously supernatural letter has brought back faint memories of him. It’s as if her repressed memories are coming back to her the longer she spends in the house. Her subconscious led her back to the house on that date because even if she forgot it, it was still once a memory that connected with the house. Her subconscious made her walk to the taxi stand at the exact time she was meant to and when she gets there she finds out her taxi driver is her presumably dead fiancé.

  9.   Dejun Gao said:

    In Freud’s reading, it’s about able to remember special things, memories. Also, in “Demon Lover”. The women in the story she is able to remember all the memories, no matter how small or how insignificant it is.
    The similarities between the Freud’s reading and the “Demon Lover” is that they both associated with the specific color or the object.

  10.   Alinoor Rahman said:

    The short story “The Demon Lover” by Elizabeth Bowen is about a lady named Kathleen Drover who returns to her London home to collect items for her family. She had previously fled this location due to a war going on at the time. As she returns home, and seems to be in some type of distress as she notices the different marks on furniture and overall vibe of her home. She then stumbles upon a letter which reminds her of a meeting she had set up with a soldier who had passed away during the war. She reads it and is reminded by a promise she had made to the soldier when they were engaged over 25 years ago. She becomes scared much by the letter. She seems to be haunted by these “memories” she had previously had with the soldier. She couldn’t even recall what her former fiance looked like. Similarly in Sigmund Freud’s “Screen Memories” he states that a person is able to remember memories that are special to them, as well as remember specific details which she does. However for someone who went as far as being almost married she had a hard time recalling her fiance’s face. Only at the end when she entered the taxe she screamed. They looked at each-other for an “eternity,” her driver was her fiance.

  11.   kyle swedin said:

    In the short story, The Demon Lover by Elizabeth Bowen, there are many connections to ideas presented in Freud’s Classic Theory about memory. Freud discusses multiple ways in which the mind and memory work together to select certain aspects of a memory that people latch onto such as the color of a flower that was presented in The Classic Theory. These small aspects can be seen all throughout The Demon Lover. The story has so much attention to detail and imagery it almost mirrors concepts talked about by Freud. The fact that a lot of things are being described in vivid detail however is quite interesting. It is common to remember one or two insignificant things about a occasion or instance but in The Demon Lover everything was being emphasized vividly. The explanation could be that because of the war during this time it made the recollection of events much clearer. This is based on Freud’s theory that memories stick with most people if they are associated with traumatic events that involve things like death, fear, humiliation, pain etc. Therefore because of the time period of this story it is safe to assume that most things would be remembered vividly. this time period probably had its fill of everything that Freud said would help remember a memory. All those feelings combined at once would make it hard for somebody to forget something.

  12.   Jenson Hu said:

    The story “The Demon Lover” relates to Freud’s story involving memories. The story “The Demon Lover” talks about a woman named Mrs Drover who she returns to her old home that she had left twenty-five years ago. As she returns to the house, she recalls many memories including the small details of the house, and talking to her dead fiance in the garden. However, she does not recall remembering the face of the soldier. In the story, it states, “The young girl talking to the soldier in the garden had not ever completely seen his face. It was dark; they were saying goodbye under a tree. Now and then – for it felt, from not seeing him at this intense moment, as though she had never seen him at all.” This shows that after twenty-five years, she could remember some of the events that occurred at this house, but not completely. This relates to Freud’s “Screen Memories” because Freud states that “They report that the most frequent content of the first memories of childhood are on the one hand occasions of fear, shame, physical pain, etc., and on the other hand important events such as illnesses, deaths.” This statement relates to “The Demon Lover” because due to the fiance’s death, Mrs Drover is recalling memories that surround him and the events that happened between those two at the old house.

  13.   Jason Jiang said:

    The story “The Demon Lover” is not what the name suggests it to be. In the story Kathleen Dover who forgot a promise she made and is only able to remember it from a letter she found on a table when she revisited her house which was pretty run down. Using Freuds analysis to interpret Bowens story we can see that Kathleen had forgotten the promise she made to her fiancé before he went to war and was presumed dead. Because he was presumed dead and hasn’t shown up for 25 years in those 25 years she was worried about not being able to marry so she went seeking a marriage partner and when she finally found one she was around her 30’s. By this time, it has been quite a while since she made that promise with her fiancé so when she found the letter about keeping said promise she was unable to remember it. Freud explains that traumatic events are what people remember and because Kathleen is trying to shut out the past she focuses on it. Kathleen even stated that he was never kind to her and she never really even remembered him at all and she tried to run away from meeting him, but in the end, she either met him and was overwhelmed with fear or she saw the taxi driver as him and was still overwhelmed with fear even though it wasn’t him.

  14.   Wenhui Ding said:

    The Demon Lover describes a horrifying story. A middle-aged woman was kidnapped by a mysterious ghost. If I were to apply Freud’s analysis into this short story, I would say that this fictional story is a projection of the story teller’s inner fear. The overall theme of this fiction is fear. It was unrealistic to believe that the woman is actually brought away by a imaginary figure. But humans’ fear is not realistic all the time. It might come from a clip when the subject goes through a really hard time. The mind reduced the cognitive load for the subject. The stress was hidden into the subconscious area. So on the surface level, the subject’s ego would not be affected and it would remain intact. However, the source of the stress is never solved. The stress later turns itself into fear which for the solved case. This story does share some commonalities with “screen memories”. They are both unrealistic. They are combinations of functional parts to form some sort of actual memories. In fact, they are just hallucinations which tricks the correcting system in the mind. In terms of differences, the demon lover is a consistent story with comparatively logical connections so people can be somewhat tricked.

  15.   Matthew Outar said:

    Through the analysis of “The Demon Lover” by Elizabeth Bowen we can draw several vital parallels to Freud’s studies on “Screen Memories”. As Freud discussed in his study the earliest memories that we tend to remember is that of a fear, pain or some other traumatic experience. In this short story involving Kathleen Drover who begins to recount her past memories as she returns to her former home in London. As she returns to this familiar place she is reminded of the solider whom she had once loved. This is an great parallel to Freud’s ideas on screen memories. While the memory of her fiancé was suppressed because of its traumatic nature the familiar objects brought that memory and its details to surface. Although she might have loved this man once the experience was so traumatic that she subconsciously suppressed this memory until she was unaware that it even existed. This is one of the main aspects of Freud’s studies. By analyzing the suppression of this memory, the importance becomes significantly clearer. It was evident in this story that she did not want to remember her past lover and tried to flee once the memories started coming back. Although this traumatic memory was initially suppressed and seemed as if it hasn’t existed familiar cues were able to help her recall this past experience. This is a significant theme of Sigmund Freud’s “Screen Memories” which is why I believe this story embodies the similar theme.

Leave a Reply