The Major Character’s Analysis of the Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde
This paper is done to fulfill the final examination of English Prose
With Muhammad Edi Thoyib, M.A
Nila Kartika Putri (10320040)
HUMANITIES AND CULTURE FACULTY
MAULANA MALIK IBRAHIM STATE ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY, MALANG
MAULANA MALIK IBRAHIM STATE ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY, MALANG
1.1 Background of the Study
Literature is a work of art which is used language as its media. Literature always has relationship with our daily life. One of literary study is about our problems or directly or indirectly, people need art as spiritual cure when they are under pressure, depression, and others.
Prose is a literary work distinguished from poetry especially by its greater irregularity and variety of rhythm and it is closer to the correspondence to the pattern of daily conversation. According to William Bascom, prose is an appropriate terms for the widespread and important category of verbal arts which includes myths, legends, and folktales. These three form are related each other in that they are narrative in prose, and this fact distinguishes them from proverbs, riddles, ballads, poems, tongue-twisters, and others forms of verbal art on the basis of strictly formal characteristic. The prose is shorter and less complex than the novel. It is not bound by the structure and metrical restrictions of plays and poetry.
The Selfish Giant is one of the short stories written by Oscar Wilde. The short story tells about someone who was very selfish, so he forbidden the poor children played in his beautiful garden. Being selfish person, he got a lesson that made him to be kind person. The lesson was his garden was not arrived by other weathers except winter. This was made him realize that he had been a selfish person and begun to be kind person. He also opened his garden anymore in order to be playing place of the children.
In the case above, we cannot separate between literature and the role of psychological because prose as the one of literary works is also written based on human psychology. The correlation of both of them is very important because here psychology is to determine the character of person. Psychology is the science of learning and investigates about behaviour and also the human activities as the reflection of human being. Psychology is needed to the characterization in the novel and his existence is not only related with the author activities (Sukada, 1987: 132).
The purpose of this work is to analyse psychological aspects of the major character in ‘The Selfish Giant, a short story written by Oscar Wilde’, because this story consist of problems that related with psychology by major character. The attraction of Sigmund Freud theory (1856-1939) to certain writers is easily explained as used his theory about the structure of personality; Id (Das Es), Ego (Das Ich), and Superego (Das Ueber Ich).
1.2 Problem of the Study
a. What is the major character’s analysis of The Selfish Giant based on Sigmund Freud theories?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
a. To find the major character’s analysis of The Selfish Giant based on Sigmund Freud theories.
1.4 Scope and Limitation
Considering to the time and researcher’s knowledge, the researcher focus her research on analysing the personality changing on major character in Oscar Wilder’s short story, The Selfish Giant. The writer focuses this study on analysing the personalities of the major character of The Selfish Giant, Giant.
1.5 Definition of Key Terms
1. Personality: a characteristic way of thinking, feeling, and behaving. It embraces moods, attitudes, and opinion and is the most clearly expressed in interactions with other people. It includes behavioural characteristics, both inherent and acquired that distinguish in person from another.
2. Major character: the most important person who endows certain moral quality and carries on the action in the literary works.
3. Psychology: the scientific study on human behaviour mental process.
4. Theory: the example of realities that helps us in understanding, explaining, predicting, and controlling those realities.
5. Psychological analysis: the way of the writer analyse literary work by using the particular sides of parts with the mind and the behaviour as an expression of the mind.
Finding and Discussion
This chapter presents discussion to answer of the research problem. The data that cover the personality changing on the major character of The Selfish Giant based on theories of Sigmund Freud is discussed further in the section of discussion.
The data which the researcher got concern with the personality changing on the major character of The Selfish Giant based on theories of Sigmund Freud. To make this discussion easily to be understood, the researcher divides this data into three parts. They are the personality of major character, Sigmund Freud’s theories, and the major character’s analysis based on Sigmund Freud’s theories.
2.1The Personalities of Major Character
The one of major character of Oscar Wilder’s short story, The Selfish giant is Giant. Giant was a man who was rich and had the large garden. Here, the researcher used the Giant’s conversations and attitudes to determine his characteristics/personalities. The Giant’s conversations and attitudes that can be used as the information of his characteristics are as below;
- a. The Selfish Giant
The title gives us idea about the major character’s characteristic. The title has already changed the reader’s mind set to think that the major character of The Selfish Giant is selfish. It seems that the giant is someone who is very egoistic and never thinks others, but we do not know how selfish the giant is if we have not read the story yet.
- b. ‘My own garden is my own garden,’ said the Giant; ‘any one can understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in but myself’.
This is the first sentence said by the Giant which is represents his selfishness. He said that his garden is his own garden, so he does not allow anyone to play in his garden. My own garden is a sentence represent that the garden is his own and he does not allow anyone plays in his garden is an application of his selfishness.
- c. So he built a high wall all round it, and put up a notice-board. ‘Trespassers Will Prosecuted’.
Building a high wall all round the garden in order to forbid the poor children play in his garden is the second proof of his selfishness. He tried to fence in order to avoid the children playing in his garden. It is exacerbated by a notice-board written ‘Trespassers Will Prosecuted’. It is addressed to whom plays in his garden; they will be prosecuted by The Giant. It is very scream, but it is made intentionally in order to frighten the children.
- d. He was a selfish giant.
The author, Oscar Wilder stated this sentence in order to make sure the readers that the major character of this short story is really selfish.
- e. ‘He is too selfish,’ she said.
This sentence was said by the Autumn when she gave golden fruit to every garden, but to the Giant she gave none. The Autumn seems want to give some lesson to the Giant because of his selfishness. She did not give the Giant golden fruit as others, so it was only winter there, and the North Wind, and the Hail, and the Frost, and the Snow danced about trough the trees.
- f. And the Giant’s heart melted as he looked out, ’How selfish I have been’, he said.
This one was said when the Giant looked at little boy who could not reach the branches of the tree and cried bitterly. This situation made him realize that he was very selfish person. Here, the researcher concludes that this event also made his heart to be kind, to have the contrast personality with his personality before.
- g. ‘Now, I will know why the spring would not come here. I will put that poor boy on the top of the tree, and then I will knock down the wall and my garden shall be the children’s playground forever and ever’.
The proof of his personality changing found in this conversation. He realized that he was a selfish person, so he would put the poor boy on the tree’s branch, and also made his garden as the playground of children forever. Here, the researcher thinks that the Giant believe that by doing this kind of kindness, it will change his personality from selfish to be kind.
- h. He was really very sorry for what he had done.
The author gives us information that the Giant was very disappointed for what he had done. He was very disappointed of chasing away the poor children from his garden, putting up the notice board written ‘Trespassers Will Prosecuted’, and others. His regret made the researcher to believe that the Giant will not repeat his mistakes for next time.
- i. ‘It is your garden now, little children’, said the Giant,
The Giant said to the little children if his garden was also theirs. He did not want the children run because of him. His heart was melted, so he becomes to be kind person. This sentence also has the point that the giant changes his mind. In the beginning he saw the children, he said ‘My own garden is my own garden’, but after his heart melted, he said ‘It is your garden now, little children’. Means that he wants to share his garden with others, the little children.
- j. Every afternoon, when school was over, the children came and played with the Giant. But the little boy whom the Giant loved was never seen again. The Giant was very kind to all children, yet he longed for his first little friend, and often spoke of him.
This is an attitudes the researcher believed that the Giant has kind side in his heart. The children went to the Giant’s garden when school was over. It is a proof that Giant was kind person, so the children liked to play with him in his garden.
- k. ‘I have many beautiful flowers,’ he said; ‘but the children are the most beautiful flowers of all’.
There is implicit meaning of ‘but the children are the most beautiful flowers of all,’. It means that the Giant very loved the children. He had preferred the children than flowers in his garden. This condition is the opposite of first condition when the Giant saw the children were playing in his garden.
- l. ‘Who hath dared to wound thee?’ cried the Giant; ‘tell me I may take my big sword and slay him.’
This sentence said when he met the little boy after years. The little boy is the loveliest one for the Giant, so he would take his big sword and slays anyone who dared the little boy. The researcher’s opinion is that he said this sentence to little boy in order to make the little boy stays with him and never let him anymore.
- m. And the child smiled on the Giant, and said to him, ‘You let me play once in your garden, to-day you shall come with me to my garden, which is paradise.’
This one is sentence said by the little boy to the Giant, ‘You let me play once in your garden, to-day you shall come with me to my garden, which is paradise,’ the researcher thinks that paradise as the price of the Giant’s kindness. He did his best effort for the regret of his selfishness, so God appreciated him by giving him paradise and the children as the mediators.
Those are some Giant’s conversations and attitudes founded in this short story that help the researcher to analyze Giant’s characteristics/personalities. From the conversations and attitudes above, the researcher conclude that the Giant is dominated by two contrast personalities, they are selfish and kind. The author’s purpose of making the Giant as the major character that can be guest by the researcher is giving the figure to children and also making their mind set that being selfish person is not good choice.
2.2 Theories of Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud comes from Austria (1856-1939). He one of developers of theory of mind set, instinct, and sexuality. Freud is the power of our mind set. His ideas are famous as the ideas that are based on unconscious mind. This idea included all of things that are very difficult to bring to the conscious mind. It seems like passion and instinct. Actually, he is not the finder of unconscious mind, but his interpretation that thinks that unconscious mind is not important for our selves made him famous as the finder of unconscious mind theory’s finder. According to George Boeree, conscious mind is what you realize at a certain moment, senses, memories, thoughts, fantasies, or feelings that you have. Unconscious mind is everything that can easily called into conscious mind, memories that we often do not remember them when we do, or usually famous as the available memory. Freud said that both of them are the smallest particular of our brain. He has opinion that unconscious mind is everything that is difficult to transfer to the conscious mind, as our instinct and desires and everything that goes to it because we are not able to reach it, as emotional memories or emotions related with trauma.
Organism is the object of Freud’s research. One of the most important things of organism is nerve’s system which is very sensitive to what it needs. When people are born in this world, their nerve little better than animals and this nerve is named by id. Nerve’s system works to translate organism’s needs to be motivational power which is called in German language by Tribe or we call it by Instinct or passion in English. Freud also called it by needs. The process of needs to be wants is called primer process by Freud. Id works with the principal of pleasure such as an urge to reach something. The example of id is when the baby feels hungry or thirsty, he will cry hardly. The baby does not know in the perspective of his mom and dad, he just knows that he wants something and has to be fulfilled at that time. It is the pure id according to Freud’s opinion.
Id cannot fulfil all what people want and need, so it demands our attention anymore and force to enter to conscious mind. Fortunately, organism has layers of mind as what mentioned before, conscious mind that relates to real world using senses. Here, half of id become I and half other become ego.
Ego relates the organism to the reality of world using its conscious mind and looks for objects in order to satisfy its wants and passions. This process called by secondary process, the continuation of primer process. Ego works with the principal of reality, means that it needs the suitable objects for fulfilling its needs. Ego represents the reality and also intelligence.
When ego tries to make id happily, it also gets difficulties and challenges in the real world. It often meets challenges in the way of reaching its goal. Ego will writes well what are the challenges and what are the solutions for those all. The notes of these challenges and solutions will be become as superego. Superego has two sides, first is conscience that is internalisation of punishment and caution. The second is ideal ego that comes from praises and positive examples given to children. Conscience and ideal ego are easy to be opposite with everything comes from id. Superego also represents the society and the society often does not demand something to a personal except denying their needs. In addition, Freud decided into three models, not two as conscious and unconscious mind. The models are id, ego, and superego.
2.3 The Major Character’s Analysis Based on Sigmund Freud’s Theories
According to Sigmund Freud’s theories that people’s mind has three models; id, ego, and superego, the major character’s personalities of The Selfish Giant are included into ego and superego. The first Giant’s characteristic is selfish. It includes into ego because ego works with the principal of reality, means that it needs the suitable objects for fulfilling its needs. Ego needs the suitable objects for fulfilling its needs/wants. It happens to the Giant, he is selfish because he does not want the children to play in his garden. It appropriates with his principal that is stated in his first conversation, ‘My own garden is my own garden, anyone can understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in but myself,’ so he majors himself that others. His second characteristic is kind and it is included into superego according to Sigmund Freud’s theories. He changes his selfish to be kind because a factor, it is the children. The children are one of part of society. Superego also represents the society and the society often does not demand something to a personal except denying their needs. Superego also defines as when id and ego come together, so that the Giant’s second personality is included into superego based on Sigmund Freud’s theories. In addition, when the selfish Giant changes to be kind, it has a movement/shift from ego to superego which the factor is part of society, the children.
The researcher gets two points about the major character’s analysis of The Selfish Giant. First is that the major character, Giant dominated by two personalities, they are selfish and kind. Selfish is a character as feeling that his self is more important than others and here, kind is generalisation of love, generous, and affection. Second is that the selfishness of Giant is included into ego and giant’s kindness is included into superego based on Sigmund Freud’s theories, so according to the Giant’s characteristics there is a movement from ego to superego based on theories of Sigmund Freud.
 George Boere, Personaly Theories, Melacak Kepribadian Anda Bersama Psikolog Dunia (third edition, 2010) page 32
 George Boere, Personaly Theories, Melacak Kepribadian Anda Bersama Psikolog Dunia (third edition, 2010) page 34-36
 Peter Barry, Pengantar Komprehensif Teori Sastra dan Budaya, Beginning Theory (first edition, 2010) page 114