It Ain’t No Sin: Carter’s Response To Freud’s Views Of Sex
Angela Carter transforms and twists existing ideas all throughout her work. Carter’s writing provides innovative insights. Wise Children was her last novel. Carter created the character Dora Chance in this novel. This is in response to Freud’s Dora An Analysis of A Case of Hysteria where he examines the lives of young girls. Carter uses Freud’s definition of sex and perversion to create situations from Dora Chance’s Wise Children. She sees sexual desire and other activities as healthy.
Freud emphasizes sex throughout his Dora. He attributes Dora’s problems to her sexual exposure and knowledge. Freud states that Dora learned much about sexual activity from the childhood governess. Freud describes her governess to be “an unmarried woman…who had advanced views and was well-read” (29). Freud refers to “advanced perspectives” as advanced sexual views. He clarifies this by saying that the governess was “an unmarried woman…who was well read and had advanced views.” (29). Freud concludes that Dora did not tell her parents about the sexual conversation because the governess made it clear that she was perverse or taboo. Freud also points out that Dora saw her father’s sex promiscuity in jealousy. Freud presents the governess of Dora as a sexually evil character who interferes with her life and negatively impacts her. Carter is a mirror of the character of the governess to Nora Chance and Dora Chance. Grandma Chance, their caregiver, provides positive sexual education. Dora Chance tells her own story and recalls the positive lessons Grandma gave the twins. First, Dora describes Grandma Chance in her youth as a nudist. She says that Grandma Chance never wore a stitch. She believed it was better for the children to be exposed to sunlight and the fresh air. So, the kids often ran naked around the yard, much to the surprise of their neighbors (27). Grandma helped the girls feel at ease with their bodies through nudism. Nora and Dora received “comprehensive sexual education” from Grandma Chance (84). Dora said that before meeting men, she “had never seen a naked person before” (85). Dora mentions her Grandma’s sexual education right before she describes her first sexual encounter at 17 years old. Freud paints Dora’s governess as a negative figure, but Carter offers Dora a positive and constructive sexual education through Grandma Chance.
Carter uses Freud’s notion of early sexual education to her disadvantage, but Carter emphasizes the naturalness and not perversion of oral sex, just as Freud does. Freud says that Dora is only aware of oral sex because she was exposed to it through her negative sexual education. Freud calls oral sex an “excessively repelling and perverted fantasy” (45). He believes that oral sex is a perversion, even though he claims that young women who know the male organ and enjoy sucking their thumbs like children fantasize about it.
Carter defy Freud’s definition of oral sexual intercourse in Dora Chance’s encounter on her 17th-birthday with her first partner. Carter draws from Dora’s initial encounter to illustrate the naturalness and different types of sexual intimacy. Dora approaches the young man naked before they have intercourse. Dora then examines his penis. She states, “There were a few drops of moisture trembling on my tip, so it came to be licked off” (85). Freud believed this to be true. Young women who know more about the male organ than they do will have an interest in oral sex. Carter uses Carter’s incident to show that oral sex can be natural and not perverse fantasies. Dora’s use, “It was meant to be licked off by me” is a declaration of how natural this act is. Dora is actually expressing her disapproval for oral sex by describing her own experiences.
Freud sees oral sex, like all perversions, as a root cause of illness. Freud sees Dora’s sexual history, fantasies, and lack of knowledge as the root causes of her physical and mental ailments. Freud stated, “For there is no knowledge about sexual processes even within the unconscious, there will not be any hysterical symptoms; and there cannot be any question that ‘innocence is mind’ where hysteria has been found” (42). Freud believes that sexual encounters lead to mental illness. Freud further claims that sexual encounters, fantasies, and other mental illnesses are caused by hysteria. Freud asserts that “Bedwetting HT0_is] not more likely to cause” (66). In addition, he claims that masturbation can cause continual female discharge (68). Freud explained that the patient’s sexual habits of masturbation cause her vaginal regions to release “negative substances” such as urine or discharge. Freud encourages the view that sexual encounters are the cause of all negative ailments.
Cater also deplores Freud’s interpretations of oral sex education and sexual education. Wise Children explains that while sexual relationships can cause heartbreak or anxiety (as Tiffany experienced), these are often the result of long-lasting love relationships, which also include sex. Cater says that sexual encounters can bring joy and happiness. Dora describes positive aspects of Nora’s first encounter with an older gentleman when she was 16 years old. She tells her, “Don’t feel sorry. Don’t think it was a cruel, inhumane, or unhappy thing to meet someone you love. Dora describes a situation where Nora had sex with a man she didn’t like. She warns that the reader should not portray the encounter as negative and she advises them to avoid doing this. Nora knows exactly what she wants, and when she wants. Nora is able to get pregnant because of her encounter with the gentleman. Dora, however, clarifies that Nora does see this as an upside. Dora explained that Nora’s miscarriage was not due to her losing the [man ]…No. She wept at the loss. Nora views the birth of a baby as a positive result, and miscarriage as a negative. Dora doesn’t focus on the negative effects that sex has on Nora, instead focusing on Nora’s control and ability to manage her sexual needs and her maternal losses.
Carter shows serious love affairs among couples (such Dora with her young men and Nora with her long-term American boyfriend Tony), but she also portrays the humorous side of sexual relations. Dora’s first sex encounter with the young woman she is in relationship with is an example of this. Dora tells him that the young male is Nora’s boyfriend. Dora sleeps with him only on Dora’s birthday night, as Nora agreed to play a bed-trick on him. Nora agrees that Dora will sleep with him because he can’t tell the difference between them (83-84). This relationship creates feelings from true love in Dora. However, a bed trick can be used as a traditional comic device. Carter uses this trick to make Dora feel loved. This shows that sex can be serious or lighthearted.
Carter counters Freud in another instance, during the film production for What! You will! Peregrine removes an animal from the crotch in Melchior’s pants, and the bird dances around the set. Carter wants the reader see the bird as an sexual symbol by placing it in Melchior’s pants crotch. Carter presents the bird in a dancing, singing, message of sexual freedom. This is an indirect response Freud made to sex.
Carter portrays sex as a lighthearted act. Carter includes sexual encounters with almost all characters in the story. Tristam is in an intimate relationship with Tiffany, Saskia, Genghis Kahn proposes Nora. Peregrine Harm is famous for his sexual exploits. Nora has a long list of sexual partners. Many of these partners they can’t name. Carter also depicts a scene when many people have sex while they are with their partners. Dora and Melchior’s first partner had sex once more during the Lyndecourt Twelfth Night Costume Ball. Dora observes that they weren’t “the only ones who succumbed to the forces of nature” after the tragedy (103). Many cast members had also sex during fire. She claims that “there was an organizational aspect to this evening of disaster” (103). Dora stresses her view that sex can be natural by using the phrase, “succumbing nature.” Carter also points out that all characters are involved in sex and that every person has a desire to sex.
Carter counters Freud by examining the sexuality of many characters. She focuses on Dora Chance’s encounters with men to counter Freuds view of Dora’s sexuality. Carter is Freud’s parallel character in Peregrine’s Uncle Peregrine. Carter intended Peregrine to serve as Herr K’s counterpart for many reasons. Peregrine with Dora often interact, just like Herr K with Freud’s Dora. Peregrine acts as Dora’s older male character. He is also related (albeit by blood rather than friendship) with Dora’s father. Peregrine treats Dora in the same manner that Herr K treats Freud. Freud says that Herr K would often give Dora expensive gifts (52), but Peregrine gives Dora lavish presents all throughout her life (226). Peregrine is Dora’s sexual attraction, as Freud believes Dora is attracted towards Herr K. Dora Chance has noted her attraction to her uncle on multiple occasions. Dora says that Peregrine was her first encounter. You will be forgiven if I start to describe him in the language used for pulp romance. There was always that Perry quality (30). Dora expresses excitement over Herr K’s attractiveness even though she is his nephew. Freud assumed that Dora was attracted to Herr K because he is an older family member.
When the reader realizes that Carter purposely set up Peregrine’s attraction to Dora Chance, it is clear that Carter is using the relationship to refute Freud’s claim that sex can be perverted. Freud presents Dora as a proposition by Herr K sexually (19). Freud believes Herr K’s sexual proposal of Dora was what caused Dora’s hysteria. He indicates this throughout the text. Freud says that Dora revealed to him a previous episode with Herr K., and it was…calculated in order to cause a sexual trauma (21). While she is tempted sexually by Herr K in the first instance, they share a kiss (19). Freud believes that these were the traumatic experiences that caused her panic disorder. He admits that Dora sometimes feels attracted to Herr K and fantasizes about having oral sex with him. However, these events are still traumatic and thus negative. Freud, once again, describes the young woman’s sexual experiences in negative terms despite his attraction to him.
Carter, in contrast to Freud’s claims, creates a positive sexual relationship with Dora Chance and Peregrine. Peregrine is often described as Peregrine’s father figure, but Peregrine can also be described as Peregrine’s object of attraction. These descriptions are kept separate throughout most of her text. When she refers to Peregrine, she does so as a father figure and an object of desire. She says that Peregrine saw her as the same as she did, but he also loved them. (208) This quotation speaks of his fatherly love. Dora questions her feelings about him, and then she wonders if his fleshly envelope is outside the circle that I desire. (208). She thinks of him simultaneously as a source and object of fatherly love. She stops thinking like this when she sees herself. She said, “I stopped thinking that way toot sweet.” (208). Carter recognizes that Freud and others would consider Carter’s attraction to Peregrine perversion. Carter shows Dora that Peregrine can be trusted by her and she has sex with him at the end. Peregrine also appears to be Peregrine’s father, and Dora is relegated back to the role of daughter. Peregrine said, “I’m no father to you, Dora. It was a mistake that I regret for seventy-odd, but I’m mighty glad that I made it right now. (222). He demonstrates how easy it is for them to move from a paternal relationship into a sexual one without seeing it as a negative or perverse thing.
Peregrine and Dora Chance’s sexual encounter is positive, not perverse. Peregrine says to Dora after the couple have fallen in love. (220). Peregrine does not feel traumatized or cheated by Dora’s true love. Dora tells readers that Peregrine’s night was the culmination and culmination of her sexual experience. She said, “Peregrine didn’t have to be the one sweet man tonight. It was a wide range of faces and gestures that Peregrine gave me. He was not the lover of my heart, but all the other loves in my life, the curtain-call of my career and love. This quote indicates her attraction to him and her desire to be with him for a happy ending to her sex life.
Carter frequently draws parallels between Dora Chance’s story and Freud’s Dora In Wise Children. She then uses her parallel story as a way to discredit Freud’s view that sexual activity is perversion. Cater retells Dora’s story using parallel characters like Grandma Chance, Peregrine and Peregrine. This gives her a healthy and positive view on sex. Carter successfully negates Freud’s views of sex, creating a novel in which the characters experience sexual activity and desire in a fun, positive and comical way.