Psychology 105: Foundations of Personality
Spring, 2002
The First Essay
Doug Davis

Mike Oswalt and I have devised an assignment for the first, 800 word, essay that we think will both interest and challenge you.  Look carefully over the “Dora” case for instances in which Freud's detailed interpretation of one of Dora's dreams, symptoms, or thoughts has aroused her strong criticism or resistance.  State clearly in your own words what Freud's explanation is and why Dora finds it unacceptable (you may have to speculate here).  Then -- and this is the core of the paper -- explain Freud's reasoning, that is show why his explanation makes sense in terms of his theories and practices of interpretation and therapy at the point that he's seeing Dora.  Try to make your point by referring to one or more important details of Freud’s thinking and the way he uses evidence in the works you’ve read, rather than simply state a general principle such as “reversal of affect.” Having explained Freud's position and Dora's objection, conclude with a few brief words about why on the whole you agree more with Dora or with Freud.  Be careful not to treat this as the first page and half of a 20 page paper, and therefore to spend most of your words introducing the whole -- admittedly fascinating -- topic of Freudian psychology and psychoanalysis.  Get direct to the point about Dora's symptom and Freud's explanation, so you can spend most of your words on the careful Freudian explanation.  It is on this that your grade will primarily depend, but we're interested too in your choice of an appropriate example and the ingenuity with which you can explain Dora's situation.

I am serious about the 800 word limit (about 1.5 single-spaced pages), against which you should check your essay before submitting it (Word counts words). Do not waste words quoting Freud directly, beyond a word or two if you think Freud’s choice of words important to explain. Use page references in the Peter Gay reader or give the name of a linked page of my notes. Do not use writings on Freud not included in the syllabus – this is not a “research” paper. You may discuss the assignment with members of our class (and, of course, with me), and I encourage you to read the BlackBoard discussion for ideas. If you feel you have been noticeably helped/influenced by a conversation or posting, add a parenthetical reference (such as, “I’m following a suggestion by Jane Doe in the BlackBoard discussion”). This essay will be a fifth of your grade (20 of 100 possible points).

Unless you have prior permission to submit this essay late (having another paper or exam due roughly the same day is not usually an adequate excuse), your essay should be turned in at class Monday, February 11. It should be <choke> printed, so it can be sent to Mike Oswalt, who is helping with the grading. The last sentence should be “I have completed this essay in full compliance with the Haverford College Honor Code,” and your signature.