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Jung’s Anima In Connection To Winnebago Trickster

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“The soldier, as I shall show, has no means to connect his inner being to his social role; what Jung signifies by ‘trickster’ is lacking” (Rowland). Trickster prompts the existence of the animalistic traits that each individual possesses. Carl Gustav Jung, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, divides our unconsciousness based on the genders. Animus represents male unconsciousness which is present at females, while Anima is female unconsciousness which can be found in males. Trickster’s breaking of cultural and social norms is a base for a further understanding of certain psychological segments, unconsciousness and consciousness.

The line between animal and human behavior

Jung’s research about trickster and his interpretation of the trickster’s connection to the animal world set to remind every individual of its animal roots. In the Winnebago tale, we can clearly see how trickster – representing basic animal instincts, does everything in order to get to the food. Trickster’s animal instincts are especially expressed at the beginning of the tale when he is still so unconscious that he is not aware of his own existence. ‘‘In his clearest manifestations he is a faithful copy of an absolutely undifferentiated human consciousness, corresponding to the psyche that has hardly left the animal level’’ (Drake 7). At the first glance, his behavior may be interpreted as deviant and unusual, but he is simply taking the steps which are necessary to help him reach his goal. Even though his behavior is on an animalistic level in his search for food, he shows traits of an intelligent creature. Later throughout the tale, we can see that he did not rely only on his animal traits, but also on his imagination to get to his goal in a subtle and acceptable way. Changing his gender and appearance in order to marry someone who will be his ticket to the desired point is something that is not unusual at all. People tend to wear masks, change their appearance and adjust their behavior to the situation they are faced with. Jung is reminding us that the line between animal and human can easily be, and often is, surpassed. Few centuries ago, animal instincts were what drove people’s actions and their code according to which people behaved. In modern society, we can clearly see that we have advanced as a species and adjusted our behavior to fit into society. Therefore, the Winnebago tale serves as a representation of how, at the beginning of our species, we have had little control over our animal instinct, but, as time passed, we have advanced our moral and social codes and learned how to behave according to them.

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Anima and Animus in each individual

Furthermore, the trickster’s ability to change his gender has a strong connection to modern society. We don’t have the capability to change our gender, in an instant, at least, but all of us have masculine and feminine traits in ourselves. ‘’From the biological aspect, both male and female secrete masculine hormones and feminine hormones’’ (Zhu and Han). We can clearly see through the Winnebago tale that the trickster has the ability to transform himself into a pretty woman who is able to satisfy all male needs. This is presented in an exaggerated manner in which trickster has the ability to transform his whole appearance in an instance, but the possibility of one individual to express feminine or masculine traits no matter of the gender is unquestionably realistic. Also, people are shaped by the environment which is clearly shown on the example of a shape-shifting character who is characterized by being reckless, tough and foolish; and who changes into a loving, protective and emotional husband. Just like in the Winnebago tale, the trickster is shaping his masculine and feminine traits according to the situation. In addition, each woman provokes certain male traits from her male partner and vice versa. ‘’For thousands of years, a male has anima archetype by interacting with a female, and a female has animus archetype by interacting with a male’’ (Zhu and Han). Women tend to be more gentle, seductive and nurturing when in the company of a man. On the other hand, men show their protective side much more when they are close to women. ‘’Anima and Animus should be displayed in an individual's consciousness and behavior’’ (Zhu and Han). Suppressing the masculine/feminine traits in ourselves means you are not wiping these characteristics, but on the contrary – they are strengthened. From our early childhood we have imposed certain traits we should act according to based on our gender, which makes us suppress the opposite gender traits in ourselves even more. Trickster, because of his unusual nature of not being raised by anyone, didn’t have any problem in expressing feminine traits when he needed, nor did he care about what anyone would think about it. His non-concern about others lies in his own nature, but also in the fact that he was not imposed with any type of behavior from his early childhood.

The unconsciousness of humans and trickster

However, we need to be aware that usually, people are not aware of their Anima/Animus – it is part of their unconscious mind. We are driven by two forces: our consciousness and our unconsciousness. People say for a reason that it’s really hard to change something influenced by your unconscious. We can hardly predict our behavior and we can’t control it in a moment if we are not aware of what’s provoking it. It is hard for a man to stop suppressing his feminine traits if he has been subconsciously manipulated from his early childhood to ‘act like a man’. In the Winnebago tale, we can see how trickster, at the beginning of the tale, was so unconscious of himself that he couldn’t control his body movement. This is, again, an exaggerated way of showing us that your unconscious part of mind can control your thoughts and your behavior. All relationships in our life are influenced by our unconscious thoughts. A woman who decided to forgive her husband for lying to her and to start over, can behave in that manner only to the point when her unconsciousness takes over. Her behavior, no matter of her rational thoughts and decisions, will be impacted by her unconscious thoughts which are provoked by the first event. There are many things about ourselves that we are not aware of, and in order to change them, we need to come to the core of our unconsciousness and make it the conscious part which can be changed. In Winnebago tale, we can see the trickster’s process of becoming aware of himself. ‘’Only when his consciousness had reached a higher level could he detach the earlier state from himself and objectify it, that is, say anything about it’’ (Lock). The tale started by trickster’s inability to control his body movement but by the end of the tale trickster started being aware of himself and therefore, he learned how to control his body movements and even how to transform his body. This is a good representation of how liberating your unconscious mind may bring some new abilities and new behavior for any individual.

In essence, we need to be aware that each one of us is influenced by the animalistic traits in ourselves. Even though I was quick to judge trickster’s behavior by describing it as deviant and unseen, I have found many parallels that can be made to our society. It doesn’t matter how educated, intelligent or rich an individual is, we all have the same animal roots which can’t be uprooted. The most important parallel I would make from Winnebago tale is how an individual is ready to do (almost) anything to reach his goal. The goal for trickster was to get food, which sounds primitive considering all the other available goals that are imposed on us from birth. Trickster found his way to the food, just as everyone today is finding their own way to money, success or acceptance. The only difference between trickster and people today, is that trickster’s path to the goal is presented in a primitive way, while today, people are much more subtle and have learned how to act according to the norms – or how to pretend they are playing by the rules.

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Jung’s Anima In Connection To Winnebago Trickster. (2021, October 05). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 4, 2023, from
“Jung’s Anima In Connection To Winnebago Trickster.” Edubirdie, 05 Oct. 2021,
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