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The Dark Side of Society in Two Malaysian Short Stories: A Grotesque Reading

Aziz, Feteha (2015) The Dark Side of Society in Two Malaysian Short Stories: A Grotesque Reading. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 9 (1). pp. 177-192. ISSN 1985-3106

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Abstract

This paper operates on the notion of the unintentional grotesque and aims to explore elements of the grotesque in Lee Kok Liang's “Just a Girl” (1968) and Lisa Ho King Li's “The Tiger and the Moth” (1991). A grotesque reading of the two works was done based on several reasons: the misfit characters, the grotesque elements present in the stories and ultimately, the grotesque manipulation of power towards the Other in society. This article aims to analyse elements of grotesque in the two stories via its thematisation of notions of alterity and manipulation of power. I also argue that the grotesque elements serve as a critique of the social malaise portrayed in the stories. Lisa Ho's misfit is the effeminate Endi, an illegitimate child of mixed parentage with mottephobia whose status as the other leads to a grotesque death. The misfit in Lee's work is portrayed via the nameless blind girl facing a bleak future as a result of her blindness and her father's abuse of paternal authority. While both protagonists are polar opposites, they both face grotesque consequences because of who they are. By relating to this, this paper argues that the grotesque elements expose readers to the unexpected, dark side of society.

Item Type: Article
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Open Access Policy: Asiatic is an open access journal which means that all content in it is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this Journal without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author.

Uncontrolled Keywords: alterity, dysfunctional family, grotesque, Malaysian literature, power
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Humanities and Creative Arts
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Copyright Info: Open Access Journal
Depositing User: Janet Davidson
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2019 03:42
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2019 03:42
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/8394

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