The Yeats Journal of Korea Vol. 23 (p.117-139)

「학교 아이들 속에서」에 대한 융(C. G. Jung)적 접근 :‘태모’와 영웅신화

A Jungian Approach to “Among School Children” : ‘Great Mother’ and Myth of Hero


This paper is an attempt to practice Jungian ways into a great poem of Yeats’s, “Among School Children,” over which home and foreign academic societies concerned have been under much controversy till now. But it is very regrettable that I have no belief if the views issued from some noted scholars in the societies have been plausible or appropriate. In the sense, as suggested by the title, the encounter between Great psychologist C. G. Jung and Great poet W. B. Yeat is very significant in that they both had pursued the same ultimate subject as a supreme state of humanity respectively represented as archetype of ‘Self’ and  ‘Unity of Being.’ For Jungian ways applied to the poem, first symbols, images and psychological situations lurking in it can be useful as the interpretative clues. These representations can function as faithful agents helping us to reach the gate of the poetic truth, urging us to mobilize Jungian esoteric terms corresponded to several kinds of psychological situations people must go through. ‘Great Mother,’ maternal archetype, who stands for earth and womb and takes two characteristics, construction and destruction, possessing opposite qualities of Witch Kali and Virgin Mary, exercises serious effect upon a male child as an earthly hero. Some ideal aim or mission that the hero strives to grasp is just equivalent to hurriedly return to the womb as his biological origin, namely secular realization of the principle of ‘entrophy’ meaning the second principle of thermodynamics; does mean the hero’s life whatever else? It can be associated with the biblical situation, Pieta, the holy picture describing Mary’s lamenting in bitter grief with embracing his dead son, Jesus Christ. In fact, the hero is determined to death resulting from energetic emission of burning libido, which can be embellished with either establishment of duty or sacrifice to community. Thus, ‘Great mother’ longing for the runaway baby from her womb, in turn, is expecting his death to suffice emptiness of womb and heal her chronic complex, hysteria. In conclusion, in the poem, we can find that the destiny that after “children” in the “school” go through a initial step of ‘individuation,’ the perfect state which further can be indivisible, they, absurd beings, are cast into the tough world with each secular mission is just to aid the scheme of ‘Great Mother.’ “school” is a temple teaching “dance” and “children” in it dancers learning “dance.” Accordingly, the enigmatic relation of “dancer” and “dance” in the eighth stanza would be unraveled: The former can come under an archetypal pattern and the latter can correspond to its practitioner. Thus, “dance,” playing a role of ‘complex’ as compelling force and driving us to imitate it, tires us, dancers, finally to death, as an erotic dancer Salome’s dance murdered a spiritual dancer John the Baptist. After all, we can never get to the core of “dance” only to hang around its brink, which Yeats should know. As usual, getting captivated by “dance,” we continually shout hoarse to others: Shall we dance?