Uncanny In The Sand-Man By Sigmund Freud

Decent Essays

Out of Sigmund Freud’s many definitions of the word uncanny, I found the definition of the uncanny as something hidden, not known, or withheld from others the most intriguing (223). In “The Sand-Man,” Hoffman purposefully keeps the audience in the dark through his use of the letter format and Nathanael’s ignorance and hallucinations in order to retain the reader's attention.
Upon starting “The Sand-Man,” any reader would notice the letter style narrative, which serves to drive the story onward through the reader’s curiosity. By telling the part of the story through the character’s correspondence, Hoffman limits the amount of information the audience can receive. Take, for example, the very first letter from Nathanael, it was only meant for Lothair, meaning Nathanael was trying to hide information from the other characters. Nathanael even ends the letter by telling Lothair not to say anything to Nathaniel's mother and that he will write to Clara when he has “a somewhat calmer frame of mind.” (9). This deliberate action of obscuring the truth is Freud’s very definition of uncanny. In addition, even if a character is willing to express his or her account, it will no doubt be influenced by his or her emotions and memories that may or may not be completely accurate. Describing Coppelius as “hideous,” “cat-like,” and “distorted” in surprising and suspicious detail, Nathanael seems like a rather unreliable narrator (5). Not only was this memory from his childhood and therefore

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