Sandman_Paper - 1 The Romantic Experience Professor Eykman...

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1 The Romantic Experience Professor Eykman 07 April 2008 Fear and Insanity Symbolized through Eyes in “The Sandman” In his short story “The Sandman,” Hoffman placed great emphasis on eyes and objects related to eyes. He brought in the common theme of eyes throughout the story and helped it to evolve over the course of the plot, first using eyes to symbolize the main character, Nathaniel’s, fears, and then having them correspond with his increasing insanity. However, although the symbolism seemed to change from the beginning to the end of the story, Hoffman was able to bring the two things eyes symbolized together in the end, proving that Nathaniel’s fears in fact ultimately caused his insanity. Nathaniel first came to fear eyes when he was told a gruesome story about the sandman by his care-taker. The sandman was described as a wretched creature “who comes after children when they won’t go to bed and throws handfuls of sand in their eyes, so that they jump out of their heads all bloody, and then he throws them into his sack and carries them to the crescent moon as food for his little children…” (pg 87). This story was certainly frightening enough to make children such as Nathaniel go to sleep immediately, but the psychological affects that such a story had on a large imagination proved to be devastating, as portrayed throughout Hoffman’s story. Nathaniel insisted that he heard the sandman in his house every night, when it was really his father’s boss, Coppelius. Therefore, once Nathaniel discovered this, he projected his image of the sandman on Coppelius, along with his fear. In this instance, Nathaniel was more afraid of the person Coppelius than of eyes, but when Coppelius found Nathaniel spying on his experiments
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This note was uploaded on 06/06/2008 for the course GM 067 taught by Professor Eykman during the Spring '08 term at BC.

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Sandman_Paper - 1 The Romantic Experience Professor Eykman...

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