Explain how "The Fall of the House of Usher" is uncanny.

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The uncanny or unheimlich is the uncomfortable or the strange. The German word unheimlich, meaning unhomelike, best captures the eerie feeling of the uncanny, the sense of the ordinary being "off" in a weird or uncomfortable way.

To Freud, the uncanny represented death and was most clearly symbolized in the corpse. A corpse is uncanny because it is both completely human and completely inhuman. The twin, known as the doppelganger, also represents the uncanny, both "you" if you are part of its pair, and yet not you.

In "The Fall of the House of Usher," a twin becomes a corpse, which is about as uncanny as it gets. Roderick's twin sister Madeline dies, and with the help of the narrator, Roderick entombs her in a coffin covered with a heavy lid in a thick-doored vault in the dungeon of the house. However, it happens that his twin is not really dead--one symptom of her fatal disease is that she can look as if she is dead when she is, in fact alive--and somehow, eerily, she emerges from the coffin and the vault. When Roderick sees her, his nerves already shot from anticipating her return, he dies and becomes "a corpse."  

Many believe Madeline, Roderick's twin, is simply a projection of himself created by his fevered brain. Whether she exists or not, a twin is uncanny and a dead twin doubly so. Furthermore, the entire setting drips with the uncanny: the mildew-covered house of Usher, with its dark, creepy tarn, isolated setting and Gothic features, is anything but "homey." It is an appropriate setting for the dark, repressed wanderings of the unconscious, everything we don't want to face in our everyday life. 

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The Fall of the House of Usher

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