Metamorphosis of Billy : The Study of the Unconscious in Arun Joshi's The Strange Case of Billy Biswas
The most futile cry of man is his impossible wish to be understood. The attempt to understand is probably even more futile. Arun Joshi’s second novel The Strange Case of Billy Biswas is a strange tale and unique example to study the unconscious level of human mind which lies behind the unusual acts and moves of the personality. Billy’s uncommon traits and transformation of personality from an educated, sophisticated upper strata of society to the primitive tribal world of aborigines is a typical case in terms of accepted social norms and behaviour which can be analysed on the basis of psychoanalytic theory laid down by Sigmund Freud. The paper is an attempt to study the unconscious mind of Billy which brought in a transformational change of his personality. Psychoanalytic theory is a scientific theory developed by Freud to explain human personality and behaviour. Central to this theory, is the concept of the unconscious, the belief that much of one’s action is determined by memories, thoughts or wishes of which one is not consciously aware. Closely allied with the concept of the unconscious is the principle of psychic determinism, which maintains that each psychic event is predetermined by previous psychic events of which one may not be consciously aware. Memories, thoughts, wishes or other mental phenomena are excluded
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from conscious awareness when they are in some way objectionable or unacceptable to the conscious self. They are not, however, completely pushed aside but are expressed in some disguised manner.