2011 Student Research Conference:
24th Annual Student Research Conference

"My Body Casts His Shadow": Exploring the Uncanny in Agha Shahid Ali's The Half-Inch Himalayas
Devin K. O'Bryan
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

The idea of the uncanny, or the idea of something being both uncomfortably familiar yet foreign at the same time, has long been used as an effective literary device. In his essay "The Uncanny," Sigmund Freud describes this concept as "... that species of the frightening that goes back to what was once well known and had long been familiar," and he notes that it can be experienced when one is confronted with repressed fears or desires. This essay will explore the concept of the uncanny as it appears in Agha Shahid Ali's The Half-Inch Himalayas, with specific focus on the poem "The Previous Occupant." It will take a look at how the language and imagery used in the poem evoke a definite sense of the uncanny, and how these uncanny elements relate to the greater themes of isolation and displacement seen throughout Ali's poetry as a whole.

Keywords: Agha Shahid Ali, The Half-Inch Himalayas, poetry, Sigmund Freud, the uncanny

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 16-2
Location: VH 1324
Time: 9:45

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