Going Hysterical

by Donna Liu

When I first begun to read “Dora”, my initial knowledge of Freud was honestly very basic and I knew only of the very obvious and common ideas linked to Freud. As I continued my reading on the bus, I slowly crouched more closer to my book as to hide my book away from the people around me standing up or beside in case their eyes wandered to the pages of my book and their vision briefed over the overly sexual subject matter. I immediately acknowledged that I experienced embarrassment reading this text in public. Perhaps, it is because because sexuality is a sensitive matter.

Freud’s text exploits the sexuality of his patient, Dora, in a very blunt manner. His text or stream of consciousness it seems rarely acknowledges Dora as a person, a woman but rather as a subject to his interpretation. He doesn’t seem to exemplify any real knowledge of females and is extremely unsophisticated in saying they are just “mysterious.”  Of course, I am allowing my sensitivity again to take precedence rather than simply reading this text as Freud intended it to be a professional and scientific reading. It is difficult however to get over how presumptuous and complicated Freud’s methods and theories are, and to really understand how they in fact work. Freud creates quite a complex case… (Dora is repressed because of a regret of being sexually advanced by Herr K. at age 14, because of childhood masturbation and bedwetting, and her father’s love for Frau K… and it goes on.) I couldn’t help but think Freud a little hysterical himself to be able create such complex associations and explanations. He’s quite brilliant really.

During many sections of the text, I was in complete confusion as to what Freud is trying to say, and further more, I could not understand the reason for the case. While the obvious is that Dora suffers from “hysterical”, or physiological, symptoms need to be resolved, I am not quite convinced how her psychological thoughts and feelings can or need to necessarily be treated. From a modern perspective, Dora’s story would not be overwhelmingly inappropriate as there must be numerous cases of scandalous stories which are worse than hers. Sexuality tends to be wild subject.


(Blogging before Monday night next week is in the agenda)