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Freud's Interpretations of Uncanny Essay

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Freud’s concept of the “uncanny” is a highly influential and valued in psychoanalysis and literature. As Freud explains, it reveals much about his understanding of human beings as being essentially determined by their fears and unconscious desires. His interpretation of uncanny can be analyzed in two ways: linguistic and actual. In the beginning, he starts with the term “uncanny”, which is taken from German word “unheimlich”, literally meaning “un-home-like” – something unfamiliar and unknown, never experienced before. The problem is that the definition of the word and the linguistic peculiarities take half of the whole reading, so we get to the point after the second half. Freud then argues that the uncanny is a result of returned…show more content…
This argument is influenced by the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex. The act of Oedipus blinding himself after finding out about his parentage is perceived as a symbolic castration. This statement can be explained by the ancient Greek laws which would punish the incest with his mother by castration. However, we can observe inconsistency here. As a reader, I still cannot draw the similarity between the two fears and cannot possibly compare eyes to the genitals in any ways. It may work on males, but I highly doubt that for females it is the same thing. The comparison of The Sandman with Oedipus Rex made me think about the thematic resemblance of two pieces. Here the subject of reality-testing is also important. The levels of uncanniness vary depending on the style of the book. The reader’s sensibility to the text is adjusted to the style. If it is a tale, every uncanny seems “normal”. Fiction creates an uncanny effect only when actual conditions are being narrated. So, the reader in a way shares the perspective of a character experiencing the uncanny along with him. If you read the whole Hoffmann’s tale, you get completely different meaning out of it. Freud does not take into account the whole text but just the parts he considers important for his analysis. Freud’s analysis seems very persuasive for those who did not care enough to spend the
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