I realized this past week that, much to my chagrin, I have been using the word “uncanny” wrong for my entire life. For Sigmund Freud “the uncanny undoubtedly belongs to all that is terrible—to all that arouses dread and creeping horror; it is equally certain, too, that the word is not always used in a clearly definable sense, so that it tends to coincide with whatever excites dread” (Freud).  Freud likens the uncanny to losing your eyes or fear of castration. In humans both the eyes and the genitals are instruments of categorization and the uncanny relates to the inability to categorize life in the chaotic world. Your eyes categorize the things around you while your genitalia categorizes the self.  The monster has categorized his world through observation but when we sees himself he sees something different from what his observations have taught him about human life.   The moment he looks into himself he realizes that he embodies the destruction of the dichotomy of the familiar versus the unfamiliar. He sees a being that is familiar because it is indeed a reflection of self but simultaneously new and terrifying because he has never seen something like himself before.  This scene of the creature’s self discovery is the very union of heimlich and unheimlich.  The moment is heimlich in the personal nature of self-discovery, yet unheimlich in the idea that his being is radically different and more grotesque than the life he has spent weeks observing.  Upon seeing his reflection the monster experiences the uncanny because he cannot categorize himself as familiar or unfamiliar.

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