In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll I found a relationship between Sigmund Freud’s Psychosexual Latency stage and Alice, the main character of the story. The Latency stage is one of the stages of Freud’s psychosexual development. Alice is in the latency stage of the psychosexual development, she has the age that many children were found to be during this stage and some descriptions of the latency stage identify Alice. What Alice is going through is also be considered as the Electra complex. The Electra complex occurs during the phallic stage which is before the latent stage; the latent stage gets affected by the Electra complex, that occurs to girls.
Sigmund Freud developed the idea of psychosexual development in which consisted of five different stages the oral, the anal, the phallic, the latent, and the genital. In relation to Freud’s latency stage description, Alice fits it completely according to her age and her actions. In Freud’s theory the latency stage begins during the phallic stage in which the child realizes that his/her wishes and longing of the parent of opposite sex cannot be fulfilled. During the phallic stage is when Electra complex occurs and can affect the development of girls during the latent stage. During the latent stage the children should start to develop from babies to reasonable human beings that can express more complex feelings. Anna Freud, who continued the development of psychosexual development from her father found that if the oedipal stage is delayed, or in the case of females the Electra complex, it would create problems during the latency stage. Problems that can arouse are having difficulties adapting to a group, lack of interest and school phobias. Erik Erikson, also a psychologist, said that in the latency phase is when many suffered competence and inferiority. Children compare their worth to others and recognize their differences and abilities which make them “inferior” to others in their eyes. He also believed that during this stage the children grew eager to learn new skills.
Alice fits the descriptions of being in the latency stage because she is seven years old and because of the book description of her actions. “I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth.” She seems to be having a hard time realizing what is happening in real life and what is occurring in her fantasy world. Like in this quote as a reader we realize that it’s clearly impossible to fall through the air in to space. Alice seems to believe that everything is happening to her in real life when it’s more than clear that many things occurring to her are impossible to happen in real life.
According to Erikson, in this stage children are always eager to learn new skills and Alice is always questioning and willing to learn everything that is going on around her. “Why did you call him Tortoise, if he isn’t one.” Alice is also always comparing herself to others and asking questions about anything that she doesn’t completely understand.
Electra complex was one of the theories developed by Carl Gustav Jang in which he said that every little girl goes through this even though the majority doesn’t remember. In Electra complex all the little girls envy their mothers because of their mother’s possession over the father. A theory that was developed by Anna Freud, she said that if the girls don’t grow out of it on time it could bring them complications in later stages, such as in the latent stage. Alice could have not grown out of this stage on time which brings her complications to belong in a group or fit well in society. Which brings questions to her mind like, “Who in the world am I?”, Alice is confused as to who she is. Since Alice isn’t able to fit in a group she decides to create another society in her mind but she still finds it complicated to fit in as well. There’s a part in the story in which she sees a king and queen and she describes the queen as if she was the one with all authority and not the king this shows that Alice’s mother had more control over her father and she wasn’t able to fulfill her desire for her father. “My dear! I wish you have this cat removed!” said the king to the queen. The relationship between the king and queen could remind Alice of the relationship between her parents in which her mother has the control in where she can’t have interference.
Alice fits very well in the latency stage of the psychosexual development. Electra complex seems to have been delayed and still exists in her memory which makes her act like she does and creates a whole new imaginary world to get away from her “reality”. Her form of inferiority is expressed when she drinks the potion and shrinks and stays small most of the story. Her sexual desires are all the fantasies that she is going through which she knows she wouldn’t be able to go through or see in real life.