n English in Africa - Anima and psychic fragmentation in Olive Schreiner's

Volume 42, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



This essay argues that Schreiner's , a novel based on autobiographical fragments, depicts an all-pervasive psychic fragmentation with respect to the unconscious. In particular, two Jungian systems - the Kore and the stages of eroticism - reveal the characters' psychic fragmentation with respect to the anima. Among the novel's male characters, Waldo Farber and Gregory Nazianzen Rose receive detailed analysis, especially with regard to the anima's maternal aspect. Waldo is associated with the maternal through his creation over two nine-month periods of a sheep-shearing machine and a burial post. Also, his attraction to the primitive and his shadow work with other men precede and enable his interest in marrying Lyndall. Gregory, though his relationship to the anima is complicated by cross-dressing, achieves a motherly Christ-like orientation as Lyndall's nurse. His name alludes to Saint Gregory Nazianzen, whose theological positions point affirmatively toward individuation, wholeness, and unity. But while both young men make some progress, neither properly overcomes his psychic fragmentation to achieve an ideal contra-sexual relationship. As the novel closes, significant individuation remains a far-off destination.

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