In psychological analysis, a psychologist uses many observations of individuals to determine what is going through a person’s mind. There is a specific type of psychology called personality psychology. It is the pattern of collective character, behavioral, temperamental, emotional, and mental traits of a person. This shows a developed analysis into a person’s mind through his actions and how he acts on occasions. Usually psychology would select a random sample of a population to observe and study. In this sample, there is no life experience involved, it is complete and plain information given. With all the information acquired, the psychologist would then analyze it and try to gather theories of human life and human personality. These theories would help solve psychological issues that affect humans. Psychologists usually hold a neutral stance about most topics and would not give an opinion that would influence the decision of the patient. Since a population has many different opinions, the study of a few randomly selected patients would not cover the whole population and the analysis, therefore, would be ineffective. Much personal experience is bound to an author; this is why he writes novels. With the experience an author has gone through, he shares his thoughts about human life and personality to his readers. In psychology, on the other hand, no previous experience is needed about human personality; just pure research of the subject. Without experiencing life itself, a proper conclusion about it cannot be reached. In this sense, psychology is in a disadvantage to a novel. A novelist jots down his ideas of certain aspects of life and writes a flow of ideas in the form of a fictional book. In this way, the readers would easily acknowledge the meanings to the novel itself. It is much easier to understand a novel as it relates to the reader, than observations and documents based completely on psychoanalyses of different patients. These documents would only assist in forming different theories of the human mind or personality for a certain population. The information could be only based in certain countries, race, state, town or continent, but it would not cover the whole world’s opinions. Novels, though, are books. Books are usually distributed globally and could captivate the entire world. This would lead to the message about human personality that the author is trying to reveal, to be available for a whole population to be able to read. In a psychological analysis, the information would only affect the population studied and not the globe.
On the other hand, novels could be a pure opinion of the writer himself and does not share the same view as the whole population. This could lead to an improper analysis of human personality. While psychology, the information although retrieved from a certain population, has a relatively small chance of being incorrect information as thorough analysis is used. This would lead to psychology being more efficient to learn from than a novel. To oppose this view, the probabilities of having a novel that leads to an incorrect view about human life and personality is very rare and the novelist would not have experience enough to write a proper novel.
It can be concluded that novels are more effective in sending the message out for the analysis of human life and personality rather than a psychological analysis of a subject. In a novel, we are bound to find a vast amount of experience from the author about human life, as was expressed through Sheikh Darwish in “Midaq Alley” or about human personality, as was shown by the anonymous narrator of “Season of Migration to the North” while in a psychoanalytical document, we are only bound to find information that would come with no experience but just pure research. It is known that the population’s ideas are ever-changing as so are the human personalities; thus lacking experience would lead to not being able to determine the next step that the personality might lead to.
Bernstein; Penner; Clarke-Stewart; Roy. Psychology Sixth Edition. Houghton Mifflin
Salih, Tayeb. Season of Migration to the North. Trans. Denys Johnson-Davies. Heinemann Educational Publishers, 1991
Mahfouz, Naguib. Midaq Alley. Trans. Trevor Le Gassick Anchor Books