R. Gray

German 390/Comp Lit 396/Engl 363/CHID 498/JSIS 488/Lit 298

Freud and the Literary Imagination


Short Writing Assignment 8


Write on one of the following topics in 150-200 words!


A. Freud's interpretation of E.T.A. Hoffmann's "The Sandman" in the essay "The Uncanny" relies heavily on the symbolic substitution of "phallus" for eyes, of "castration anxiety" for fear of the loss of one's eyes. Take a stand on this interpretive maneuver. Is it related to interpretive strategies Freud has followed in other texts we've read? Does it expose a weakness in his approach, or is it rather a strength?


B. Our discussions of Hofmannsthal's "Tale of the Cavalry" have concentrated on an interpretation in the context of Freud's theory of the uncanny. Is it possible to apply other Freudian themes or ideas (dream structure, Oedipus complex, Eros and Thanatos, etc.) to this story? Choose one and outline what such an interpretation might look like.


C. "Tale of the Cavalry" is often treated as a highly symbolic text. Aside from the theme of the double, what other elements in the story might be interpreted as symbols in a Freudian sense? Do they fit together into a coherent pattern?