Into Oblivion: A Study of Carl Jung’s Archetypes in John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me

· Issue 22 (2018)
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Abstract

Carl Jung believed that dreams offer solutions to the conscious mind and helped restore our psychic equilibrium. Jung also believed in an inherited collective, universal, and impersonal psychic system. John Howard Griffin, in his 1960 book, Black Like Me, darkens his skin in order to cross the color line and experience what life is like for African Americans in the southern parts of the United States. The characteristics of Griffin’s recollection of experiences as a Black man in the south are familiar to that of a dream (confusion, anxiety, and fear). For the purpose of this study, Griffin’s voyage into Blackness in order to truly understand what African Americans face in the racially hostile South is considered as dream, and therefore Jung’s archetypes are applied to various aspects of Griffin’s story to examine America’s racial landscape as a dystopia that exists in the unconscious, collective American psyche.

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