Some aspects of the personality of Lafcadio Hearn
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With the objective of interpreting some of the outstanding aspects of the personality of the author Lafcadio Hearn, the present research has weighed that author's correspondence and thematic writing, as well as the reports of the biographers. From the whole of the literature has emerged a characterization with indications of somewhat well-defined personality traits. Among the various aspects of the personality of Hearn, possibly the outstanding was that of the sense of inadequacy, which may have been connected with his feeling of physical unattractiveness as well as with his childhood frustrations involving the feeling of rejection by parents and society. His feeling of inadequacy may have been es entially a sexual one. His frustration on the anal level resulted in such fixations as that on the books which offered father-substitutes and mother fibres. The sudden removal of these books by his aunt was a castrating blow that increased his feeling of inferiority. His attitude towards women was one of idealization which put them beyond his reach, thus saving himself the possibility of the humility of rejection. His association of sex with evil, a carry-over from childhood teaching, resulted in his further avoidance of actual sexual experience, sexual demands and the bitterness connected with their frustration are reflected in his writings, which are replete with sexual symbols, usually associated with the morbid and the unpleasant. Sexual relationships were eventually practised only with women of his imagined own low stature. Hearn's maladjustments were reflected in such qualities as the morbidity of his writing, the content of his dreams, and his attitudes towards associates and philosophies. However, his most disorganized periods were surely rational ones, and at the worst he was but to a degree neurotic. Possibly the very "unusualness" of Hearn's mental organization may have resulted in the creation of a recognized literature. His general feeling of rejection and inadequacy demanded compensation, therefore converting a world of phantasy into something acceptable by the public. Through this process what was probably a very ordinary intelligence, accompanied by a conscience weighed by guilt and the feeling of rejection, was put to work in an attempt to gain recognition. Thus his ego was saved from disaster.