• Christine Mette Keller Godman
4. term, English, Master (Master Programme)
This thesis focuses on the three texts Peter Pan, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and The Neverending Story and claims that they are interconnected by the oedipal themes that resonate throughout all three texts. Furthermore, the term Bildungsroman, in which protagonists go on a journey in order to encourage a development, connects these three texts. The thesis attends to the genres “Fantasy” as presented by Tzvetan Todorov, and children’s literature as presented by Perry Nodelman. These genres are also placed in relation to psychoanalysis in order to form an idea of the manner in which these theories are compatible with psychoanalysis. Furthermore, psychological theories presented by Sigmund Freud are also of central importance to this paper. Psychoanalytical theories such as the tripartite mental apparatus; the Oedipus complex; the life and death instincts; the Uncanny; and the Dream theory are presented in this thesis as valuable tools to working with the oedipal themes in the three chosen texts. However, a section on the strengths and weaknesses of Freud shall highlight the skepticism and desire of working with Freudian theory. Furthermore, the strengths and weaknesses shall also underline a critical insight into Freudian theory.
Various other academics and their scholarly contribution to the academic discussions concerning the three chosen texts will be highlighted in the introduction, and this thesis shall be inspired by some of the psychoanalytical interpretations of the chosen texts. The introduction ends with a research question that asks whether the villains of the chosen texts represent a conflict from an unresolved Oedipus complex in the protagonists and whether the resolution of the Oedipus complex signals a development in the protagonists.
The analysis of Peter Pan examines the relationship between Wendy, Peter Pan, Tinker Bell and Captain Hook in order to establish the fact that there is an unresolved female Oedipus complex at play in the novel. However, the analyses of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Neverending Story focus extensively on the male Oedipus complexes which haunt the male protagonists. The analysis of Lewis’ novel examines the relationship between Edmund, the White Witch and Aslan to underline the fact that Edmund suffers from an unresolved Oedipus complex; however, the identification with Aslan underlines the resolution of the Oedipus complex. The analysis of The Neverending Story argues that the relationship between Bastian, Atreyu, the Nothing and the Childlike Empress emphasise the presence of an unresolved Oedipus complex, but the identification with the father figure encourages the destruction of the Oedipus complex.
This thesis argues that the villains pertaining to the male Oedipus complex, the White Witch, The Nothing and Bastian (in his darker moments), represent the castration anxiety, which the respective protagonists destroy through the process of identification with the father figure. This thesis also argues that the villain, Captain Hook, represents the penis envy from the female Oedipus complex, which Wendy destroys through the process of identification with the mother, who is presented as the crocodile in the novel. Conclusively, upon the destruction of the Oedipus complexes, both male and female, the protagonists’ development attend to notions of adulthood, morality and reconciliation.

Keywords: Oedipus complex, castration anxiety, penis envy, Bildungsroman, fantasy, children’s literature, development, adulthood, morality, reconciliation, villains, dreams
LanguageEnglish
Publication date30 May 2018
Number of pages79
ID: 280127939