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In “The Babadook,” How is Carl Jung’s Psychological Principle of the “Shadow Aspect” Prominent?

Renowned philosopher Carl Jung developed the concept of the “shadow aspect.”

As Psychology Today explains, the shadow aspect is the “unknown ‘dark side’ of our personality–-dark both because it tends to consist predominantly of the primitive, negative, socially or religiously depreciated human emotions and impulses like sexual lust, power strivings, selfishness, greed, envy, anger or rage, and due to its unenlightened nature, completely obscured from consciousness.”

The article elaborates:

“Whatever we deem evil, inferior or unacceptable and deny in ourselves becomes part of the shadow, the counterpoint to what Jung called the persona or conscious ego personality. According to Jungian analyst Aniela Jaffe, the shadow is the ‘‘sum of all personal and collective psychic elements which, because of their incompatibility with the chosen conscious attitude, are denied expression in life. (cited in Diamond, p. 96)”

Early in The Babadook (2014), we are informed that Amelia’s (Essie Davis) husband died the day her son Sam (Noah Wiseman) was born. She was never able to come to terms with her husband’s death, and holds an unwanted, unconscious resentment of her child because of his association with her husband’s death. This concept serves as the foundation for the entire film.

The Jungian shadow aspect correlates with the Babadook’s catchphrase of “Let me in.” It’s the shadow aspect’s way of coercing Amelia’s conscious mind to accept the darkness it harbors.