Defense Mechanisms Used by Secret Keepers As Seen in The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth


  • Tri Kafi Abdillah Kauna
  • Elfiondri Elfiondri
  • Mariati Mariati


Keeping secret is common phenomenon and happens to almost every people. Secret keepers are often unaware that secrecy can affect to their psychology. Secrecy is an intention to conceal information from one or more than two individuals. To keep the secret, it means that the secret keepers make self protection because they do not want other people to know about it. Therefore, defense mechanism is used to avoid talking about the secret. The objective of this research is to study the psychology of secrecy as seen in the characters in a literary work. The focuses of the analysis are to find out the psychological effects in the secrecy and how the secret keepers use defense mechanisms against the psychological effects. Through library research and internet sources the writer finds that the novel The Secrets of Midwifes by Sally Hepworth is not yet studied by another researcher. The literary theory used is psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud (1923), the psychological effects because of keeping secret by Alan Burdick (2017) and defense mechanisms by Anna Freud (1934). The method of research is descriptive method and close reading technique. The study uses the novel The Secrets of Midwives written by Sally Hepworth (2015). The findings show that the effects to psychology of the secret keepers because of keeping secrecy are stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness and low selfesteem. The defense mechanisms used are displacement, denial, sublimation, projection and avoiding. The characters as the secret keepers used displacement to counter stress, anxiety and loneliness. Denial is used by the secret keepers to reduce the anxiety. Sublimation is used to fight the depression after keeping a big secret for years. Projection is used to reduce anxiety. The last defense mechanism used is avoiding to counter low self esteem. In conclusion, defense mechanisms are used as spontaneous and unconscious acts as the responds to the unpleasant situation. To reduce the effects of keeping secret to their mentality, the secret keepers can use some types of defense mechanisms. Finally, defense mechanisms are used to make their situation safe and the secret will become unknown to other people.
Key words: secrets, psychological effects, defense mechanisms

Author Biography

Tri Kafi Abdillah Kauna

Jurusan Sastra Asia Timur