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THE SUPEREGO IN SHORT STORY

THE MODEL MILLIONAIRE,


A NOTE OF ADMIRATION BY OSCAR WILDE

MAULIDAR PUTRA
64146/2005

ENGLISH DEPARTMENT
FACULTY OF LANGUAGE LITERATURE AND ART
PADANG STATE UNIVERSITY
2009
INTRODUCTION

In human mind, there are three physic zones, id, ego and superego. That three physic
zones must be balance. If one of those physic zones is not balance so the development of
human mental will disturb. However, most of people hard to balance that physic zones. So
that so many people do wrong things if their id dominated their mind but they can control the
id and cover it with super ego, their behavior will be good.

Superego is the moral part of mind process. Different with id, superego has own
principle that is care to other and the moral values. Superego is trained from the child so that
in the future, they will know about the moral value and it leads them to do right things.
Superego is the aspect of personality that holds our behavior and moral standards and ideals
that we get from both parent and society, our feeling right and wrong. Freud said in “The
anatomy of the mental personality”:

The representative of all moral restrictions, and advocate of the impulse toward perfection,
in short is as much as we have been able to apprehend psychologically of what people call
the ‘higher’ things in human life. (page.95)

Superego is the higher thing in human life because it shows the moralizing in the society.
Guerin (2005) added that “Freud attributes the development of the superego to the parental
influence that manifests itself in terms of punishment for what society considers to be bad
behavior and reward for what society consider good behavior”(158). Superego is trained and
influenced by the parents. It constructed the child to differ the good and bad thing in the
society. Superego is trained at the child me. According to Freud, the superego begins to
emerge at around five years old.

About tha author, Oscar Wilde or Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in
Dublin on 16 October 1854. His mother, Lady Jane Francesca Wilde, was a successful poet
and journalist and his father, Sir William Wilde, was a gifted writer who wrote books on
archaeology and folklore.

Oscar wrote drama, prose, short story and poetry. Here his work in drama: Vera; or,
The Nihilists (1880), The Duchess of Padua (1883), Salomé (French version) (1893, first
performed in Paris 1896), Lady Windermere's Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance
(1893), Salomé: A Tragedy in One Act: Translated from the French of Oscar Wilde by Lord
Alfred Douglas, illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley (1894), An Ideal Husband (1895), The
Importance of Being Earnest (1895), La Sainte Courtisane and A Florentine Tragedy
Fragmentary first published 1908 in Methuen's Collected Works

He also wrote several novels such as The Canterville Ghost (1887), The Happy
Prince and Other Stories (1888), The Decay Of Lying (First published in 1889, republished in
Intentions 1891), Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories (1891), Intentions (1891),
The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), A House of Pomegranates (1891), The Soul of Man
under Socialism (First published in the Pall Mall Gazette, 1891), and De Profundis (1905).

And short stories that written by Oscar are The Devoted Friend, The Happy Prince, The
Nightingale and the Rose, The Remarkable Rocket, TheSelfish Giant, Poems in Prose, The
Young King, The Birthday of the Infanta, The Fisherman and His Soul, The Star Child, The
Sphinx Without a Secret, The Model Millionaire. Short story The Model Millionaire (1891) is
part from the novel Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories (1891).
DISCUSSSION

The superego in short story The Model Millionaire by Oscar Wilde can be seen through the
characters’ thought, behavior and setting.

The conditions where the people life sometimes influence how people use their mind,
how the people behave to the other people. This condition including situation of economic,
safety, wheather, and social status. From the short story The Model Millionaire by Oscar
Wilde, we can see how the condition influence the human mind.

“Romance is the privilege of the rich, not the profession of the unemployed.
The poor should be practical and prosaic. It is better to have a permanent
income than to be fascinating. These are the great truths of modern life which
Hughie Erskine never realised.”(p.1)

In that age, the condition made people work very hard because the ideology for the people in
that time is ”we have to work hard because the happiness is given to the rich people, so if you
want to get the happiness, you must work hard and to be rich”. Beside that, this ideology
trained the people to throwing away their lazy. Added with word “ it better to have a
permanent incomen than to be fascinating”. It shows the work to get the permanent income is
important than other because to survive their life, they have to work, not waiting for other’s
care. The effect of this ideology can be viewed through Alan Trevor’s dialogue “Such
beggars as he are not to be met with every day”. It shows that the economic condition is very
stabil because a number of beggars is very low

Usually, That condition triggering the other people to work hard, they do not want fail
with their friend. But if that people are unlucky and cannot get a job and cannot make money,
Like the protagonist in the short story The Model Millionaire, Hughie Erskine. We can
describe how is the condition of Hughie from the short story The Model Millionaire.

“he was wonderfully good-looking, with his crisp brown hair, his clear-cut
profile, and his grey eyes. He was as popular with men as he was with
women, and he had every accomplishment except that of making money. His
father had bequeathed him his cavalry sword, and a History of the Peninsular
War in fifteen volumes.”(page.1)

Frow the quotation above we can understand that Hughie was the lucky guy, he was
handsome and popular. This is the perfect thing for the man, in contrast he couldn’t get the
permanent income. Although he was handsome and popular with the people, he still could not
make a permanent income even the legacy from his father just cavalry sword and a history of
the peninsular war in fifteen volumes. So that his handsome and popularity was useless.
Some people who feel popular and handsome will be very frustated if they cannot get a job
and here their mind determine what should they do. Will they be hopelessly or make there to
work harder than before. If that peoples use their Id, they will be hopelessly and then they
will do crime and this thing will break the moral values. Yet, for the people who use their
Superego, they will work harder than before and they do not know with hopelessly. In the
short story The Model Millionaire by Oscar Wilde, we can observe the people who use their
superego.

“He had tried everything. He had gone on the Stock Exchange for six
months; but what was a butterfly to do among bulls and bears? He had been a
tea-merchant for a little longer, but had soon tired of pekoe and souchong.
Then he had tried selling dry sherry. That did not answer; the sherry was a
little too dry. Ultimately he became nothing, a delightful, ineffectual young
man with a perfect profile and no profession.”(page.1)

The people who use their Superego will work harder although they still fail to make money.
It made sure that make money is hard with the sentence “but what was a butterfly to do
among bulls and bears?”, Hughie was a representated with butterfly who was handsome,
beautiful and small but like a butterfly which always look for honey. If it doesn’t find in one
flower, it will look for the other flowers. Like Hughie, he did not give up when he failed to
make much money with work as tea-merchant, he did not hopelessly but he looked for the
new job. It shows peoples who use their superego do not know hopelessly. They will looked
for work, not beg to to the other people. This ideology made the number of beggar reduce. In
short Superego determines the number of beggar. Peoples who use their id, will think
instantly. If they cannot make money, they will be hopelessly and finally they will beg to the
other people but peoples who use their superego will be shy to beg money to other people.
They will always try to look for job and want to do anything to make money.

People who use their superego will accept the reality and their own life. They do not
regret to the condition although his condition is not like rich people who are glamour and
charm. Although their income is little, they satisfy with their income and life. The showing of
superego like this can be observe trough Hughie’s close friend, Alan Trevor, in short story
The Model Millionaire.

'And how much do you get for your picture, Alan?'


'Oh, for this I get two thousand!'
'Pounds?'
'Guineas. Painters, poets, and physicians always get guineas.' (page.2)

When Hughie ask how much Trevor can obtanin the money from his picture, Alan said
Guineas without regret. The sentence 'Guineas. Painters, poets, and physicians always get
guineas' shows that he satisfied with his life and his job. That satisfaction is happen because
Alan thinks and behaves with his superego so that he enjoy his job and accept the money
without regret and dissatisfied with his life. And the satisfaction is added with the sentence
“Trevor was a painter. Indeed, few people escape that nowadays”. It shows he is very loyal
to his job. Few of that people are dissatisfied with their life because paint cannot earn much
money. That dissatisfied people mostly using their Id so that they cannot accept the condition.

Caring to the other people also shows the using of superego in their mind. They care
to every detail of the poor people. Hughie shows that he used his superego with care to the
beggar.

“The old beggar-man took advantage of Trevor's absence to rest for a


moment on a wooden bench that was behind him. He looked so forlorn and
wretched that Hughie could not help pitying him, and felt in his pockets to
see what money he had. All he could find was a sovereign and some coppers.
'Poor old fellow,' he thought to himself, 'he wants it more than I do, but it
means no hansoms for a fortnight;' and he walked across the studio and
slipped the sovereign into the beggar's hand”. (page.2)

Hughie shows that peoples who use their superego will more care to the other people. They
more prioritize importance one who more requiring than themselves private interest. It can be
viewed when Hughie give sovereign to the beggar. He think the beggar more need it to buy
food to himself. Hughie also does not care this night no hansom for him self.

The superego also shown from the controlling emotion. People who use id are often
angry if they are insulted moreover the insulting comes from the people who has lower socia
class that him. Different with that, people who think with their superego will be patient and
do not angry with the insulting. They like to reply the insulting with kindliness. In the short
story The Model Millionaire that is shown trough the character Baron Hausberg.

“The Baron,' said the old gentleman, with a smile, 'has commissioned me to
bring you this letter;' and he extended a sealed envelope.
On the outside was written, 'A wedding present to Hugh Erskine and Laura
Merton, from an old beggar,' and inside was a cheque for £10,000.” (page.4)

Baron shows that he did not use his Id but he used superego so that when Hughie gave him
sovereign, he is not angry but just said 'Thank you, sir,' he said, 'thank you.'. He knew that
Hughie is good and sincere boy so that he assumed the sovereign as sincere thing not an
insulting. Later, he gave Hughie a cheque for £10.000. Baron shows that his superego defeat
his id and Baron is the representated of rich people who think with their mind not their
emotion, people who think based on his superego not id. In this era we often see rich people
are mostly angry to the other people. They think based on their id so that when they become
poor people, they cannot accept the condition. Different with that, Baron thinks based on his
superego so that he can feel how poor people act and feel.

CONCLUSION
The short story The Model Millionaire shows that the real model millionaire is people
who think based on their superego not id. The model millionaire is shown trough the
protagonist, Hughie Erskine, and other characters, Alan Trevor and Baron Hausberg. They
show that they think based on their superego. This short story train us not to be hopelessly but
we have to work harder if we fail. We also train not to be lazy and just beg to other people.
This novel aware us to think about the other people around us. Can we behave like Alan
Trevor whom more care about beggar’s condition then his condition.

REFERENCE
Fool, Scott. 2000. Setting and Meaning. Retrieved on January 11st, 2009 at 01.05pm

(http://www.foll.media.co/home)

Google.2009. Oscar Wilder. Retrieved on January 11st, 2009 at 01.05pm

(http://www.wilde-online.info/oscar-wilde-biography.htm)

Guerin, Wilfred. L.2005. A handbook of critical approaches to literature. 5th ed. New York:
Oxford University Press

Wagner, Kendra Van. 2009. The Id, Ego and Superego: The Structural Model of
Personality. Retrieved on January 11st, 2009 at 01.05pm

(http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/personalityelem.htm)

Wilder, Oscar. The model Millionaire. Retrieved on January 11st, 2009 at 01.05pm

(http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/ModMil.shtml)