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This Jungian Life

Dec 23, 2021

Dr. Seuss’ case history of the Grinch presents him as “uncheerful, unhealthy, unclean.” We hope that adding an analytic perspective will be helpful in understanding this clinical condition. Alfred Adler would note the inferiority complex underlying the Grinch’s defensive attempt at superiority and power, and Melanie Klein would detect infantile rage and envy. Freud might diagnose the Grinch with Thanatos, the death drive, evidenced in his sadistic attack on Who-ville. Additional obsessive-compulsive traits impelled him to steal every toy, treat, and tree. Dr. Jung’s archetypal perspective notes the absence of eros, affirming Dr. Seuss’ summation of the Grinch’s disorder: “his heart was two sizes too small.” Fortunately, the community of Who-ville provided treatment: demonstrating that “Christmas came just the same” grew the Grinch’s pinched heart three sizes that day. No matter how you celebrate this holiday season, we—and the Grinch--wish you irresistible moments of joy.

 Here’s the dream we analyze:

“My male housemate and I were on a train, being taunted by two teenage boys. The train stopped in the middle of a grassy clearing in the forest, near a cliff-face. As we were leaving the train, the two boys rudely brushed past us, and then I lost my temper and, in a heavily-worded outburst, told them to get lost. They then ran away toward a corner in the cliff-face. At that moment, an old man appeared from behind the train, with a hunting rifle, who I felt was on my side. The old man was dressed as a hunter with a European hunting hat and had a dog following him. He chased after the boys and disappeared around the corner. When I caught up with them, the boys had run up to the top of a hill and were standing there with an old woman and a dog of their own while we watched with the old man from the bottom of the hill. I somehow knew that the woman was the old hunter’s wife of many years and that the two loved each other deeply. There was a brief standoff. Then suddenly, one of the boys took out a handgun and executed the wife, taunting the old man. He then shot the old man’s dog. The old man broke into tears of heartbreak, then retaliated by shooting the boys’ own dog before vowing to get revenge on the boys themselves. My housemate and I were standing on the sidelines watching the conflict. I woke up, feeling uneasy before either side won the coming battle.”


Dr. Seuss. How the Grinch Stole Christmas!


Learn to Analyze your own Dreams: