Identity and behaviour patterns in the text of literary works approached by narrative psychology
University of Pécs, Faculty of Humanities, Institute for Psychology, Pécs, Hungary
Texts of literary works allow handing down the past to generations getting farer and farer from events in time by enabling them to have personal experience of history. They help us to remember, attach and draw behaviour patterns from them. The narrative principle was extended to national identity by Assmann. It is through literary texts that we have a personal experience of the content of belonging together shaped from the interpretation of the common past, history. Since the universal world view of the Middle Ages dissolved coherence between individual members of mankind has been ensured by the feeling and awareness of belonging to a nation, which becomes available to individuals in texts, who turn into members of the social large group through integration into society. The use of narrative psychology as an approach and method for handling the subject of national identity represented in literary texts (primarily in historical novels) has been initiated by János László. The analysis is based on the view as a fact that national identity, the content, issues of the awareness of the nation are closely related to the interpretation of the past of the nation. It is in the wake of these thoughts that we draw a parallel between awareness of the nation and history, culture and identity. The elements of the awareness of the nation arise from the interpretation of history, which interpretation is conveyed to the individual by culture (too). And nation as a social large group provides the individual getting integrated into society with a framework of reference. The novel that provides the basic text of the analysis serves to characterize group identity. The key point is what literature carrying identity conveys to the reader and how this message can be grasped. We highlight elements (of psychological significance) that can be grasped from, are manifested in the quasi statements and constructed world of literature regarding the relation between the individual and the group. We gather types of action, behaviour patterns, evaluating statements; we determine the characters’ functions and the properties implied by actions. The latent levels of meaning of the text readable between the lines, manifested in the background, its stylistic content, aspects of interpretation in literary history are not included in the scope of the narrative psychology analysis. It is in its approach and method that this narrative psychology analysis addressing the issue of identification primarily in historic novels carries a new element.