Comparing The Sandman and Frankenstein

1535 Words7 Pages
In The Sandman, the weirdness of the tale could be perceived in two directions--the first being that of intellectual uncertainty and the other is that of psychoanalytical experience and namely the ideas of Freud. In order to describe the uncanny experience in Hoffmann's The Sandman and Shelley's Frankenstein it is indispensable, however, to explain and define beforehand what is the connotation of Unheimlich. In my further analysis of the uncanny, I relate the two works and stress on the obsession of the two characters which explains the weirdness in them. Moreover, I focus on the surrounding environment in the face of the society because it is pertinent to the discussion of the weirdness. The unconsciousness is also playing a major role in the description of the uncanny. Thus we attribute the uncanny to the collapsing psychic boundaries of conscious and unconscious, self and other, living and dead, real and unreal. These recurrent themes, which trigger our most primitive desires and fears are the very hallmarks of Shelley's and Hoffmann's fiction. Before continuing with the analysis of this topic, I would like to clarify and define the meaning of the word "uncanny" in the way I understand it. This word comes from the German Unheimlich, which means "uncomely", unfamiliar, uncomfortable, uneasy, and at the same time gloomy, ghastly, demonic and gruesome. According to Freud, this word justifies the need of a special conceptual term, which is to express certain things that lie in the field of what is frightening but at the same time leads back to what is known of old and familiar. Freud, however, argues that the "uncanny" is frightening precisely because it is not known and familiar. . When we read the tale of Hoffmann, ... ... middle of paper ... ...ation associated with the difficulty of dealing with it. It is not surprising that das Unheimliche is so ambiguous in meaning, because it is a connotation to something we do not understand and would probably be never able to really understand. In conclusion, I would say that the power of literature is connoted exactly in this unparalleled symbolic order of language that can never produce or pin down a definite meaning but nevertheless passes on "the desire and curse of meaning”. It is what the transcendent signification of the text that leaves the reader always anticipating and curious and at the same time delighted from the pleasure this play of the authors brings to her/him. On the other hand there is always this uncanny component of meaning that cannot be clarified or rationalized but nevertheless is an intrinsic part to our reading experience.

    More about Comparing The Sandman and Frankenstein

      Open Document