I took an elective of writing in my college this semester. While in class, our teacher talked about defamiliarization, which is a technique used by writers essentially use to make something familiar seem unfamiliar. He cited this as an example which really confounded me. I don't really understand what about this made it as an example of defamiliarization. He went on to show us cubist paintings and said that those too where an example of defamiliarization. I felt really confused as to what he meant. I asked him whether stories of anthropomorphizing objects and animals counted as defamiliarization or not (something like Toy Story). He said that those things do not count. I was really left confused about what he meant.* After all, Toy Story put familiar objects like toys and gave them the quality of being sentient, making them unfamiliar to us, the viewer.
So I truly want to understand what it means and if you could share essays/ short stories that employ the same technique, that would be really great.
* He also did not care to elaborate too much on it plus I have been fairly lackadaisical about this subject.
Source: reddit post