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John LennonJohanah Corell


John Winston Lennon was born on October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, New England. Lennon was raised by his Aunt Mimi after his parents were divorced when he was four years old. John’s mother remarried and visited him at his Aunt Mimi’s but never took him into her own home to raise him. She knew her sister was fit to be a better mother. His mother, Julia, taught him to play the piano and the banjo during her visits. She also bought him his first guitar. John’s father was a seaman, and was never really around as he grew up. John was known as a troublemaker throughout his young life in Liverpool. He didn’t do very well in school and his teachers thought that he would find success in the arts.

John's teachers turned out to be correct. John created a band when he was sixteen; the band was called “The Quarry Men”. On July 6, 1957 John met Paul McCartney; Paul and John are known as the best songwriting duo in history. The Quarry Men turned into the greatest band of all time, The Beatles. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr eventually comprised the greatest band in rock history. John wrote songs for The Beatles until he left the group in 1969. After leaving The Beatles, Lennon made his own albums. He wrote the song Imagine which is now third on the Rolling Stones all-time best songs list. John’s solo career was very successful. John was also an advocate for peace during the Vietnam War. A lot of his songs on his solo albums were about peace and coming together, although some songs were about the bitter break up of "The Beatles". John and his good friend Paul McCartney had many disputes about who wrote which song, and whose name should could first on the sheet music. Although now Paul has stated that those disagreements seem petty, they were very real during the disbandment of "The Beatles"

John was married twice, his first wife was named Cynthia Powell and they had a son named Julian before they were divorced. His second wife, Yoko Ono, was an artist. In 1971 John and Yoko moved from England to the United States. John had a mishap with the Nixon administration because of a marijuana dispute and almost had to leave the country. He and Yoko were granted permanent residency in 1976. They had a son named Sean when John was thirty-five. After his son was born he decided to be a stay at home father. In 1980 he returned to his music career and recorded his last album named Double Fantasy. On December 8, 1980, two weeks after his latest album was released, John was shot and killed outside his apartment by a disturbed fan. He was forty years old. Even after his death, people still admired John’s artistry. He is still recognized as one of the most talented singer/songwriters of all time.

Psychoanalytic Perspective

The psychoanalytic perspective was created by Sigmund Freud. Freud liked to think that people were motivated by their unconscious. The unconscious is a part of the mind in which we are unaware. There are three parts to the unconscious; the Id, Ego, and Superego. The Id is known as the part wanting to fulfill pleasure principles. The Ego is the most realistic of the three. It balances the Id and the Superego. The Superego is the moral portion of the unconscious with many internalized norms(Huntington, 2011). Freud said that there are five different psychosocial stages:
1. Oral Stage: infants look to satisfy hunger and thirst
2. Anal Stage: child receives pleasure from excreting waste
3. Phallic Stage: Child gains pleasure through genitals
4. Latency Stage: psychosexual drives are fulfilled by pursuing academic and social success
5. Genital Stage: mature relationships satisfy needs

John went through an alcohol and drug phase. He often did many drugs such as LSD. Freud would say that John was stuck in the oral stage of the psychoanalytic perspective. According to Freud if someone is stuck in the oral stage there is a fixation on putting things in the mouth. These things for John Lennon were different drugs and alcohol. One other aspect of these stages in the Oedipus Complex, this is a complex in which Freud thought that the boy would desire his Mother(Huntington, 2011). This complex could apply to Freud because his Mother was the only one of his parents present throughout his life. Because his Father didn't visit often a sort of resentment had built up.
Another part of the psychoanalytic perspective are defense mechanism. A defense mechanism is the attempt of the unconscious to balance the Id, Ego, and Superego (Huntington, 2011). John was very good at using music as a defense mechanism. If there was something he wanted to get out, you could see it in the songs he wrote. This could be seen as a sort of sublimation of his feelings. Sublimation is a defense mechanism that transforms harmful urges into positive, accepted norms (Friedman, 2009). If John was feeling badly, he could write a song about it instead of acting in a way that is socially unacceptable.

Trait/Skill Approach

The trait approach to psychology uses a set of adjectives to try and describe individuals (Freidman, 2009). This approach was originally brought to light by Hippocrates. The way he described people was that they had four attributes; yellow bile, black bile, phlegm, and blood. Although Hippocrates’ theory was eventually discarded, Lennon seems to be most like blood, or the sanguine.

The most contemporary approach is the Big Five Factor Analysis. This approach proposes that personality can be explained by five different factors. Those five factors are extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness (Friedman, 2009). There was an interview done with John Lennon by Rolling Stone. In that interview John was asked if he thought he was a genius. John’s reply would have made him score quite high on extroversion. He seemed to have very outgoing and was very confident in himself. In terms of agreeableness, Lennon would have rated highly also. His friends and family cared a lot about him which shows that he was friendly and cooperative. In order to be in a successful band for so long there has to be quite a bit of agreeableness. Seeing as how John did so many drugs and alcohol I can’t see how he could have been very dependable or responsible for a large portion of his life. The fact that he didn’t do well in school shows that he was not all that conscientious. Therefore, he would most likely have a lower score in conscientiousness. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Lennon stated that before each performance he would be sick for hours. Think leads me to believe he was an anxious, nervous person at times. But this could also just be an attribution to the fact that he was about to perform for an enormous group of people. In which case I would say that he would have had an average neuroticism score. Lastly, in order for John to share his life with so many people, to have so many interviews, and to perform in front of thousands, he would have had to be a very open person. Because he was part of the greatest band in history proves that he was very creative and original. This means he would have scored well above average on an openness scale.

John Lennon was a very good man, he worked toward peace, and created some of the greatest music in history. Personality can be determined by many different factors and in many different ways depending on which way you want to think about it. Many people believe in completely different factors that have to do with what makes up personality. John Lennon, although having trouble with drugs and other activities has made a very large impact on the world. No matter which way you look at personality there is no doubt that he was a great person. According to the psychoanalytic approach he may have gotten stuck along the way but he found a way to succeed although his upbringing wasn’t ideal. Also, the skill/trait approach to psychology makes John look like a very well rounded person. He rates high in many important aspects of the Big Five approach. Although John had some tough times with growing up, sticking with the band, divorce and many other factors; he remained to be a strong person that did a lot of good. John Lennon is no longer living, but will always be a rock and roll legend.


John Lennon. (2011). Biography.com. Retrieved 02:09, Apr 22 2011 fromhttp://www.biography.com/articles/John-Lennon-9379045

Wenner, J. (n.d.). John lennon. Retrieved from http://taz4158.tripod.com/johnint.html

Friedman, H.S., & t, M.W. (2009). Personality. Boston, MA: Pearson.

Huntington, A. (2011). Chapter 3: Psychoanalytic Aspects of Personality. Retrieved from http://lms.uconn.edu/webct/