The author explains uncanny as a feeling of terror that is caused by something unfamiliar that is repressed. In order for you to experience these feelings, you must already have a fear of that thing. A writer can create an uncanny feeling by using fictional works, but fears that are realistic and common. Non-fiction works can produce uncanny feelings as well, but fiction creates more opportunities. You have to take the reader out of an environment that they are used to, in order to create feelings of uncanniness.
Uncanniness stems from a fear that is repressed. Sigmund Freud is the epitome of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is a system of psychological theory and therapy that aims to treat mental disorders by investigating the interaction of conscious and unconscious elements in the mind and bringing repressed fears and conflicts into the conscious mind by techniques such as dream interpretation and free association. In order to have uncanniness you must have a repressed fear from your childhood. Common childhood fears are monsters, losing eyes, or supernatural beings.
Fictional works produce uncanny feelings better than non-fiction works. According to the author, “That fiction presents more opportunities for creating uncanny feelings than are possible in real life” (pg. 251). Fiction creates uncanniness because the author does not have to stay in the confines of being realistic. The author can make the story as wacky as he or she wants. Another reason why fiction better because you can play on those childhood fears like monsters, losing eyes, or supernatural beings. Although the reader may know that the story is fictional, he or she gets a reminder of the repressed fear.
The most effective way of creating uncanniness is to leave the reader uncertain of whether a character is real or supernatural. According to the author, “In telling a story, one of the most successful devices for easily creating uncanny effects is to leave the reader in uncertainty whether a particular figure in the story is a human being or an automaton, and to do it in such a way that his attention is not focused directly upon his uncertainty, so that he may not be led to go into the matter and clear it up, immediately” (227). Uncanniness lies in the hands of the author, and he or she can take you on a wild journey. Uncanniness is like a horror movie no matter how frightening it is, we will continue to watch to see what happens. The reader will continue to read to clear up the uncertainty. According to the author, “It is true that the writer creates a kind of uncertainty in us in the beginning by not letting us know, no doubt purposely, whether he is taking us into the real world or into a purely fantastic one of his own creation.” (230) Uncanniness lies at the hands of the author preying on your repressed fears.
One thing that I did not understand that the story keeps referencing was the fear of being castrated. I really did not see the significance and it confused me. I understood the fear of losing your eyes, but I did not understand the castration ordeal. I know Freud is mad sexual genius, but I don’t understand. Also, I think I missed the big picture when the author uses the other languages definition of uncanny. What is the significance of using the many definitions and what do I, as the reader get out of this.
If uncanniness is more relevant in fiction, and I as a reader can find out beforehand whether a story is fiction or nonfiction how can I still have feelings of uncanniness knowing the story is not real?