The return of the erased: Memory and forgetfulness in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind is a film about remembering and forgetting loss. This essay reads the film as an examination of mourning and melancholia, which are distinct ways of remembering and forgetting both a love object and its loss. Freud distinguished mourning from its pathological counterpart, melancholia, claiming that there is a normal way to grieve, mourning, and its degeneration into an abnormal pattern, melancholia. The author aims to make two points: firstly, that both processes are characterized by ambivalence and identification and therefore have some commonalities; secondly, that there is a difference between the two processes that is less apparent than the ones discussed by Freud. This is the difference between remembering a good and a bad object. Following Klein the author argues that this is a crucial qualitative difference between mourning and melancholia. She concludes that a central issue in grieving is not forgetting but remembering well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1071-1082
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Psychoanalysis
Volume88
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Keywords

  • Freud;mourning;melancholia;death;ambivalence;identification;Klein;loss

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