In her novel Berg, Ann Quin creates a hidden subtext through the use of uncanny and abject Egyptian imagery. By using the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud and Julia Kristeva to unravel the meaning behind imagery such as mummified animals, recurrent cat images, and the double, we can expose the underlying symbolism in the novel. The features of the uncanny that are especially significant to Berg are the return of the repressed and the idea of uncontrolled repetition. The repetition of cat imagery, often in the form of wet fur, signals the return of the repressed housecat Sebastian which is representative of Berg’s underlying Oedipus complex. The cat imagery is connected, through the Egyptian goddess Bastet to Berg’s mother and Judith, his pseudo-stepmother. The idea that Judith’s room is an Egyptian tomb, filled with mummified animals, increases our uncanny reaction to her because of the continued repetition of Egyptian imagery.
JENNIFER KOMOROWSKI is currently attending Brescia University College and will be graduating this spring with an Honors Specialization in English and a Major in Sociology. Her research interests are in psychoanalytical theory and critical theory. This fall she will be working on her Master's in Theory and Criticism at Western University.
"Dead Animals: Uncanny and Abject Imagery in Ann Quin’s Berg,"
Liberated Arts: a journal for undergraduate research: Vol. 1
, Article 6.
Available at: http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/lajur/vol1/iss1/6