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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The feminine as illustrated by the female figures in the film adaptation of “The Lord of the Rings”: A depth psychotherapy perspective
by Buuck, Diane Sue, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2012, 325; 3519783
Abstract (Summary)

Tolkien's 20th century mythic novel The Lord of the Rings has generated enormous interest because it contains archetypal themes that people can relate to. Using hermeneutic and heuristic methods this research enters into a relationship with the female figures of Arwen, Galadriel, and Eowyn by attending to the 21st century screen adaptation (extended version) of Tolkien's work to ascertain current manifestations of the archetypal feminine. Principles traditionally associated with the feminine include love, relationship, the unconscious, comfort with not knowing, bearing strong emotion, and engagement in the life/death/rebirth cycle.

The feminine mode of being frequently continues to be undervalued in our present society. Men and women alike often experience a lack of balance regarding the feminine and masculine in both their internal lives and the external world. Thus, this research also considers the female figures in regards to cultivating feminine qualities. In addition the alchemical nature of individuation and how their depictions of the feminine inform depth psychotherapy practice are explored. Pertaining to psychotherapy among other topics this study looks at love in the therapeutic relationship, merging, initiation, aggression, and grief.

Jung believed alchemy to be the historic underpinnings of analytic therapy. Throughout the film trilogy Arwen, Galadriel, and Eowyn provide images of alchemical stages and processes that augment our appreciation of individuation. This includes encounters with death and descent, taking back projections, and the relationship between the conscious and the unconscious as embodied by male and female characters that results in alchemical transformation and new birth. Alchemy is a form of active imagination. Jungian film scholars have established that active imagination with film figures leads to growth. Similar to engaging with dream figures, active imagination increases ones connection to the unconscious. In this spirit this inquiry includes an account of my imaginal encounters with the female figures.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Nelson, Elizabeth Eowyn
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 73/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, Counseling Psychology, Psychology, Film studies
Keywords: Arwen, Depth psychotherapy, Eowyn, Feminine, Galadriel, Jackson, Peter, Lord of the Rings, Women characters
Publication Number: 3519783
ISBN: 978-1-267-50683-2
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