Loving’s the Strange Thing: individuation in the fairy tales of Carmen Martín Gaite
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The aim of this doctoral thesis is to show how the Jungian process of individuation — the psychological development of a unique individual — is depicted in the fairy tales of the twentieth-century Spanish writer, Carmen Martín Gaite. The three shorter tales — El castillo de las tres murallas, El pastel del diablo and Caperucita en Manhattan — are explored here along with the novel, La reina de las nieves. Individuation, as well as being the means by which an individual person develops, also implies a new way of relating between human beings. Jung described the outcome of individuation as ‘objective cognition’ which, this thesis argues, is equivalent to love and conscious relatedness between persons. Dreams play a crucial role in the individuation process — as they do in the work of Martín Gaite — guiding the dreamer on his/her journey. Dreams facilitate encounters with aspects of the personal and collective unconscious, which appear in symbolic form. The protagonist of the story by Martín Gaite which is closest to a traditional fairy tale (El castillo de las tres murallas) and the novel which takes a traditional tale as its reference point (La reina de las nieves) illustrate the importance of dreams in the development of the protagonists. At the heart of each of the other two tales — El pastel del diablo and Caperucita en Manhattan — is an imagined text which illustrates, in symbolic form, aspects of the individuation process. Connections have been made in Jungian thinking between individuation and the development of Christianity into a third age, the Age of the Holy Spirit, because of the major shift in consciousness (akin to the change which occurred 2000 years ago with the birth of Christ). Alongside the exploration of individuation in the fairy tales, this thesis also considers parallels with the Christian story and indications of its development or renewal.