How do I make connections between the uncanny and postmodernism in these novels: Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig (/ or The Ghost Road by Pat Barker) and Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah? 

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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On the surface, the two books have little in common. However, they both use seemingly simple stories to explore profound images. While "Kiss of the Spider Woman" is lately told through a unique strategy of dialogue and footnotes and "Paradise" is much more poetic, both have narrators (and in the case of "Spider Woman" there are two) that are disenfranchised and powerless, but nonetheless learn important lessons about the world.
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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Focusing on the meta-narrative and meta-fictional elements of each of these books may offer you an opportunity to discuss the uncanny. 

If you can find a way to define the primary reality of each novel then discuss ways in which that reality is penetrated or informed by stories told within each book, there seems to be a good chance at identifying some of the 'told stories' as functioning in an uncanny way.  

It seems that the stories told within the narrative frameworks of these novels may relate to the unfamiliar and to notions of dread which spring from the unfamiliar. 

The function of the uncanny seems to me to be directly related to how the world outside the scope of a person's knowledge can sometimes penetrate or invade the world of perception. The dread and fright that Freud points to, in my understanding, stem from an inability to comprehend what has entered our perception. We are faced with chaos, in a way, and this emergent chaos seems to be part of what the storytelling in these novels work to discuss, comment on, and probably, ultimately, defeat. 

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