In Brother Grimm’s “Brother Lustig”, the main character, Brother Lustig, is initially portrayed as an honest, inexperienced and stupid young man, who shares all his possessions with others. For this reason, when analyzing Brother Grimm’s tale form a Jungian psychoanalytic perspective, will become a prime example of a character experiencing individuation, for he eventually becomes a more selfish, cunning and independent person. Through meeting his archetypes, Brother Lustig goes from an honest, stupid and generous person, who shares his wealth and possessions with the less fortunate ones to a cunning, selfish and self-sufficient trickster. Brother Lustig’s burgeoning conscious is demonstrated through an analysis of his Jungian archetypes, with the shapeshifting beggar, acting as his positive shadow, and St. Peter personifying as his symbolic Self.
An analysis if Lustig’s positive shadow, St. Peter as the poor shapeshifting beggar, is particularly useful in understanding the various challenges which the main character of the story will eventually have to face later on. In the folk tale, the beggar is portrayed as a cunning and intelligent trickster, who changes his appearance every time he “begged a gift [form Lustig]”(368). Every time the disguised beggar “placed himself in another shape” and asks for charity, Brother Lustig will always fall in his trap and give him “a quarter of the loaf of his bread and one kreuzer” (368), for he eventually have nothing left. By the end of the story, Brother Lustig becomes an intelligent trickster, capable of surviving alone thanks to his ability to smart and trick other people. In this context. It is evident that St.Peter as the shapeshifting beggar is a positive shadow since he embodies the qualities that the independent and grown up Lustig needs. By becoming more selfish and cunning, Lustig is finally capable of helping people by using his intelligence against “the nine devils”(376) by putting them in his knapsack”(376). By the end of the story, it becomes clear that his cunning and intelligence help him to become a more independent person capable of to survive without the help of others. He is no longer tricked by others and this shows clearly that he is on a further step towards individuation.
The most important step in Lustig’s maturation to a man capable of surviving alone is the realization of Self, personified once again by St. Peter. Through his journey with St. Peter, Brother Lustig eventually maturates. At the very beginning of the story, he was a stupid, honest, selfless soldier who does not care about how to survive the day after.