Reflection on John Steinbeck's The Snake Essay

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Reflection on John Steinbeck's The Snake

"The Snake" is a short story written by John Steinbeck. It tells about a biologist, Dr. Phillips and a mysterious woman. One day while Dr. Phillips was doing an experiment on starfish, a woman with black came into his room mysteriously. She came to him just wanting to buy a male rattlesnake from Dr. Phillips, the biologist. And then she asked Dr. Phillips to feed the male rattlesnake a rat so that she could watch the whole process. Then at last the women left him and never came back again.

John Steinbeck's short story is somehow hard to understand. There are a lot of discussions about it too. It is really a highly symbolized story, though the central meaning is not very obvious. There are a
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"The shadow is the invisible saurian (reptilian) tail that man still drags behind him", and it represents the "dangerous aspect of the unrecognized dark half of the personality" (Jung). The persona is a mediator between our ego and the external world. It is "the actor's mask that we show to the world--it is our social personality, a personality that is sometimes quite different from our true self" (Jung). The anima, according to Jung, is the "soul-image", the spirit of a man's élan vital, his life force or vital energy. Jung gives the anima a feminine designation in the male psyche, pointing out that the "anima-image is usually projected upon women." The anima is a kind of mediator between the ego (the conscious will or thinking self) and the unconscious or inner world of the male individual.

According to Jung's theory, it is not hard to find that the woman the Snake has served two roles. First, she serves as the shadow of Dr. Phillips. Secondly, she exists as the anima of Dr. Phillips. Let's come to the text, and see how the woman plays the two roles at one time.

First of all, she is the shadow, or the dark side of Dr. Phillips; she is the unconscious side of Dr. Phillips. We can figure this out from the woman's appearance and her strange behaviors. In the whole story, the author has described the woman's appearance carefully and deliberately. The first time the woman came to Dr. Phillips'
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