Children communicate in messages using avatars of the lost object and in so doing produce uncanny feelings in those around them.
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MA in Psychoanalysis
Dublin Business School
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A personal experience of the uncanny while working with children in a youth project was the inspiration for this thesis. Over a few weeks, the movement of a large spanner around the building became the focus of the children's attention. I came to realise that the spanner was a symbol for the children and I noticed that certain children made use of it to communicate a message to others. I wondered why I might feel the uncanny in relation to these events and I conducted a detailed reading of Freudian texts in the hope of finding a thematic correlation between his theories and my experience. From this reading I saw that both, an anxiety associated with the castration complex and an archaic anxiety (shown to exist by the presence of unconscious symbols in myths and in literature) were repressed but could return to a subject's consciousness. I considered that the spanner, as a symbol of the phallus had caused a return of these repressed anxieties. I also found that by its presence, the phallus reminded the subject that there was a need to be protected. An article by Marc Strauss aided my understanding of why, and from what, the psyche might need protecting. Strauss explained in his paper that avatars of the object can serve to veil the inarticulable lack for the speaking subject. My thesis investigates that unconscious symbols of the phallus are also used as a defence for the ego against the realisation of this lack, which is first felt by a baby when trying to express the energistic drives of the body. The significance of this is that the uncanny may be said to stem from the inability in language to express accurately.