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An Analysis Of The Uncanny In Bram Stoker's Dracula

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Sigmund Freud’s essay The Uncanny focuses on the parallelism between that which is “frightening” and that which is “familiar” (825). Freud asserts that the uncanny is one of several ways that our unconscious and repressed memories speak to us. In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Lucy Westerna personifies the uncanny through her transformation into an undead, and her subsequent death that follows this transformation. Before she dies and transforms, Lucy is being cared for by Dr. Seward and Dr. Van Helsing, and after her death they notice a change in her complexion and beauty which is to be unexpected. Dr. Seward notes that upon visiting her grave and opening her coffin, “she was, if possible, more radiantly beautiful than ever” (200). Lucys conversion from a familiar and friendly face into an undead relates to Freuds idea of the uncanny, as he argues that uncanniness arises out of that which is familiar but remains in the frightening class of thoughts or emotions. Lucy’s transformation into an undead, and the response this provokes in her husband, Albert, Dr. Seward, and Van Helsing parallels Freuds idea that in order for something to be uncanny, it has to at one point be familiar. Freud proposes that whether one attempts to collect psychoanalytic experiences of uncanny feelings, or searches through historical meanings of the word ‘uncanny’, the destination remains the same. Freuds goal is to define the uncanny so that he is able to develop a psychoanalytic theory involving these
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