The precise and specific similarity of the two characters, who do not possess direct relation to each other, is a rhetoric method to summon an “uncanny” effect. Sigmund Freud defines the “uncanny” element as “the realm of the frightening, of what evokes fear and dread.”
In his essay, “The Uncanny,” Freud explores the methods writers used to intensify the feeling of fear in their stories. Pertaining to this specific element, Freud claims:
“anyone who is not steeled against the lure of superstition will be inclined to accord a secret significance to the persistent recurrence.”
Throughout the story, the protagonist constantly fixates on this coincidence because her belief in the supernatural overrode her judgment. She will be fixated on the existence of a ghost instead of confronting her own repressed insecurities.
The two friends shares mutual friends which increases their chances of meeting together. However, the two friends are constantly missing each other in public events as though they are of one presence:
“so that when one was up the other was down, when one was out the other was in; neither by any possibility entering a house till the other had left it or leaving it all unawares till the other was at hand.”
At this point, neither of them has the chance to see how the other looked because they share a “rare perversity in regard to being photographed.”
This effect is referred to “the idea of the ‘double’.” Freud suggests that the
“relationship is intensified by the spontaneous transmission of mental processes from one of these persons to the other—what we would call telepathy—so that the one becomes co-owner of the other’s knowledge, emotions and experience.”
Since the narrative is written in the retrospective form, the protagonist is reflecting on this incident after experiencing the events that occurred. The importance of this detail is the compromising validity of the protagonist’s story in her perspective. It is quite possible, in the eyes of the realist, to question whether the protagonist is recording what truly happened or what she believed she had witnessed. Once the protagonist leaks her unreliability, the interpretation of the events are open to the reader.