6 Let’s Talk about Death, Baby!

Paige Schoppmann

I don’t know how to start these posts because I have ideas, but I want the post to be funny, but I also just want it to be intellectual and over so here we go pals, here’s my post with the most awkward opening line ever.


Who here is afraid of death?! You? Me? Soledad definitely is! Let’s launch into that, shall we? I am not a fan of stating things without backing them up with quotations, cause that’s just bad English major etiquette, so here’s the quote to prove Sole’s fear of death. Let’s play a game. It’s called “which-one-is-from-the-film-vs-the-textbook,” and the name is pretty telling of how to play.

“The belief  in the soul and the fear of death” vs. “You know I’m afraid of the dead.” If you said that quote number one (1), was from the textbook, you’d be correct! This being one of the first lines of the movie pretty much sets up Sole as the sole (ha) character that will be the one that they screw with the most with the uncanniness of the plot.

The most palpable uncanniness in Volver to me (at 12:17am, so I could be grasping at straws here), is the completely overwhelming theme of the “double,” defined as “reflections in mirrors, with shadows, guardian spirits, with the belief in the soul and the fear of death […] this invention of doubling as a preservation against extinction has its counterpart in the language of dreams” (425). So how is this whole mess of unclear Freudian inspired language connected to a film about murder, restaurants, and a whole mess of family troubles? Hmm, how about the lady that literally comes back from the dead and is found in the trunk of Sole’s car, that she so naturally accepts into this world as if it’s NOT A PROBLEM OR SURPRISE THAT HER MOTHER IS ALIVE FROM THE DEAD AGAIN? (Seriously, though. They’re really just not gonna touch on the fact that she’s just randomly alive? Okay, thanks Freudians).


It turns into doubling as the movie expands, when we realize that Sole and Raimunda’s mother came back from the dead just in the case of their mother acting as a sort of guardian spirit, caring for Agustina as well as Aunt Paula, and on an emotional level, Raimunda, Sole, as well as Paula. She clearly came back to give something back to each person in her life, and whether that be making food for her, or gaining her trust and forgiveness, each person had a place in her guardianism.

This all connects with the uncanny in its portrayal of the doubling, as well as many other things such as the castration complex, the unheimlich, the Oedipus complex. It was chock-full of horrendous Freudian complexes, literally leaving you with a feeling of uncanny even after the movie has ended, with your last view being of the guardian angel-that-isn’t-an-angel-or-ghost walking away into the house. Jarring, doubling, interesting, leaving you intrigued but also a little uncomfortable; this is the epitome of The Uncanny, as well as the uncomfy.


But if not the most uncanny of all, is our classmate Carmen’s involvement with a Spanish film. Everything I know is a lie. (Scroll all the way for a video showing my fear). image

[wpvideo IS4m6GIr ]


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

The Student Theorist: An Open Handbook of Collective College Theory Copyright © 2018 by Paige Schoppmann is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book