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Response to The Sandman Hoffmanns The Sandman tells the story of Nathanael a romantic poet Throughout the story eyes are of particular significance In Nathanaels letters the motif of the eyes is recurrent and the motif is again highlighted in the latter part of the story told by the narrator In this essay I aim to discuss the motif of the eyes in the story I will begin with a discussion of the general significance of eyes and I will then go on to the more specific case of Nathanaels childhood nightmare including how it influenced his adult life finally I will discuss eyes in relation to the automaton Olimpia whose creation was partly due to the eyes of Nathanael himself Eyes are also constantly referred to in descriptions of people as well as in the narrators direct address to the reader The very fact that Nathanael is a poet gives the eyes particular significance in his life Eyes are often called the window to the soul eyes show the thoughts and feelings of a person and Nathanael is particularly receptive to this For Nathanael though the eyes have an even greater significance which I will now go on to discuss The very title of the story The Sandman is a reference to a fairytale that Nathanael was told in his childhood It is from this description that Nathanaels strange obsession with the eyes developed As a child Nathanael convinced himself that the Sandman visited his father Determined to discover the truth the child Nathanael hid in his fathers room where he learnt that the Sandman was in fact Coppelius the family lawyer In Nathanaels letter to Lothar he describes how Coppelius wanted to rip out his eyesNathanaels disturbing childhood experience had a deep impact on his adult life Nathanael cannot rid himself of thoughts of the evil Sandman For Nathanael as a child the Sandman represented the evil in the world for Nathanael as
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