Repulsion starts with a documentary introduction of Carol: we watch her as an outsider. We see what she does, how she acts and how other people act around her. Suddenly Polanski takes us out of this calm perspective and puts us in Carol's life full of paranoia and despair. We are in the world of a schizophrenic. This sudden change of perspective is brilliant and an important thing what makes this film work. We have the same reality Carol does: the house falling apart, the nightmares and the fantasies. As many of us know the house in Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) symbolizes the human mind - the mind of Norman Bates. It's divided into three floors just like Freudian psychic apparatus: id, ego and superego. In Repulsion the symbolism and reflection between the apartment and Carol's mind is different but still very clear, perhaps even clearer than in Psycho. The house is a reflection of her mind; the walls of it are decaying and falling apart. Harassing hands come from the walls. The rabbit is rotting. These are very poetic elements, which add a great visual touch to Repulsion. After this horrifying sequence - or act two, we are released and once again change the perspective to an outsider. We are free to observe the situations from the outside just as the other people in the house. The film ends in a similar documentary feeling where it started from. We see a picture of Carol's family. We see Carol looking at her dad with a vacant stare. One could argue about the meaning of this, but to my mind it has always been pretty obvious that her father abused her. In result of which Carol had got a repulsion of men and sex.
One can watch Repulsion as a psychoanalytic survey of the human mind and schizophrenia. But it can also be seen as a description of virginity and about the fears of losing it. It builds on the basic biological facts that turn into something very complex. Carol walking down the streets, awakening sexual urges in men. The progression of Carol's alienation shows in her inability to do everyday chores, which is shown to us in poetic 'shock' pictures. To the place of doing ordinary things, Carol starts to lean on violent actions: her primitive fears have taken the control.