Sigmund Freud's Essay: The Uncanny

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In his essay “The Uncanny”, Sigmund Freud attempts to explain the concept of “the uncanny” by using two methods: defining the word through language and analyzing individual experiences. In order to support his claims and illustrate the notion of “the uncanny”, he uses E.T.A. Hoffman’s story “The Sandman”. Despite the fact that this text is intriguing and at first sight appealing, Freud fails to convince his readers that he has discovered the true meaning of “the uncanny” because he struggles with defining the notion. Furthermore, his arguments have no sound evidence and he selectively chooses only that information from “The Sandman” which contributes to his ideas. Freud defines “the uncanny” as something that has been repressed and then comes back to memory. (Freud 244) However, he recognizes that there are things which satisfy this condition, but do not create the feeling of the uncanniness. Thus, he puts forward other psychoanalytical notions that will help distinguish “the uncanny”. First, he connects the figure of the Sandman to the fear of castration, which in this story manifests as the fear of losing one’s …show more content…
Freud claims that the “double” comes from the infantile narcissism as well as phantasies, thus introducing the fear of anxiety and “the uncanny”. However, even Freud himself concludes that “none of it helps us to understand the extraordinarily strong feeling of something uncanny that pervades the conception.” (Freud 235) Not everything that is related to the notion of a “double” brings the uncanniness – only those memories and feelings that come from the Unconscious, from repressed. (Freud

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