Grotesque Characters

Category: Characters, Modernism, Novel
Last Updated: 21 Mar 2023
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Brittany Luckey Mr. Clements American Literature 21 March 2013 Grotesque Characters What is a grotesque character? In literature, a character or location that is irregular, extravagant or fantastic in form. When used as a device, the purpose is often in the style of expressionism, making the grotesque a parody of human qualities or a distorted reflection of a familiar place. In many ways grotesque characters have some kind of problem in society, and example would be a veteran who lost a limb in war and trying to fit back into society, or anything that we see as not normal in our society.

Characters in this particular subject can be deformed, obsessed, or in our terms just not normal or right. Another definition of a grotesque character is characterized by ludicrous or incongruous distortion, as of appearance or manner. Flannery O’ Connor, Angela Carter, and Carson McCullers all experienced uses with grotesque characters whose works can be seen with characters who are deformed, disfigured, or social outcasts. What elements make up grotesque characters? One element of the narrative that is a character can be irregular, extravagant or fantastic in form.

A grotesque character may possess a exaggerated personality trait or characteristic for the purpose of eliciting both empathy and disgust in the reader. In Flannery O’ Connor’s stories she uses two different types of grotesque characters. One type of characterized grotesque characters are called "physical grotesques" and the other type of grotesque is called "secular grotesques. " Two characters in particular are Mrs. Crater and Mr. Shiftlet; they are both grotesque characters, because they are both ruled by obsession. Mrs. Crater’s obsession is trying to marry off her daughter, and fails to see the character flaws of Mr.

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Shiftlet who cheats and lies. He uses Mrs. Crater for her money, Mr. Shiftlet is obsesses with morality and that makes both these characters grotesque, because their obsession rules their lives. Mrs. Crater’s obsession is trying to marry off her daughter, and fails to see the character flaws of Mr. Shiftlet who cheats and lies. Mr. Shiftlet is obsesses with morality and that makes both these characters grotesque. (“The Life You Save May Be Your Own”). Why are grotesque characters so popular in the Modernist movement and the Southern Gothic movement?

In Southern Gothic literature grotesque characters are used to portray deeply flawed characters. Grotesque characters allow a talented writer to exaggerate their writing making it longer and believing it made their writing better. Grotesque characters can also help with unpleasant aspects within society without making it to church-like. McCullers used grotesque characters to bring about the truths of the human society. In the Modernist movement grotesque characters were used to describe the aberration from ideal form, it helped to create misshapen, ugly, or formless characters.

In Modernism they are characterized by the qualities they lack such as fixity, stability, order, and sometimes even sanity. Writers in this period used grotesque characters to shape the history, practice, and theories in the nineteenth and twentieth century’s. What type of effect does a grotesque character have on a story? In Angela Carter’s story (John Bowen par. 1-5) they dominate, they are not beautiful, they tend to be dirtier than they clean. The main characters are Honeybuzzard, Morris, Ghislaine, and Emily. Honeybuzzard is the prettiest, but she is selfish, cruel and a killer.

They are used in a lot of gothic writing to improve, and interest and keep the reader in the book. They affect the book in many ways such as people not wanting to be around them. They normally have problems such as obsession, missing limbs, mental illnesses, or just not right in physical appearance. They stand out from other characters in a story, because of how they look or how they act. They are also known as outliers. Grotesque characters face many problems in society or wherever they live, because people judge them for how they look or how they act.

How does this story characterization add or subtract from the story? These types of characters give the story a mix of fear, abnormality, and it causes the reader to want to keep reading, and not put the book down. They can subtract from a story by having a book full of grotesque characters and the book becomes less interesting to a reader, because there is nothing happening except a group full of deformed and disfigured people. They give a book something to talk about and allow a reader to understand why they have been outcast, or why they have certain obsessions.

They bring out some qualities a lot of authors don’t write about, and that makes the book just that much more entertaining. Who is a good example of supporting grotesque characters? An example from Malcom Griffith about grotesque characters “For example, he uses vague guidelines such as “the open-ended nature of grotesque” without prior explanation of which way the grotesque is open-ended (Griffith 49). What Griffith lacks in cohesion of a definition, he tries to make up for in examples. ” He breaks down trying to explain what causes a grotesque character, to be open- ended, and why they are different from other characters.

Grotesque characters help make literature entertaining and enjoyable to read. They bring out the other side of literature in which characters aren’t normal. These things show how far literature has come from very different authors. Different types of grotesque characters have very different obsessions, problems, and living situations. Grotesque characters are used a lot and can be found in literature such as Southern Gothic Literature and some Modernism. Grotesque characters shape a lot of our books in literature today. Grotesque add thrills and excitement to our books and other sources of literature.

In conclusion, we find grotesque characters to be unwanted, socially awkward, sometimes helpless, dysfunctional, overall just not what we consider normal in our life. They don’t fit in they are just abnormal and freakish. Works Cited Griffith, Malcolm. “The Grotesque in American Fiction. ” Ohio: Ohio State University Press. 1996. Fearnow, Mark. The American Stage and the Great Depression: A Cultural History of the Grotesque. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Witkin, Joel-Peter. and Stanley B. Burns. Masterpieces of Medical Photography: Selections from the Burns Archive. Pasadena, CA: Twelvetrees Press, 1987.

Related Questions

on Grotesque Characters

What is an example of a grotesque?
An example of a grotesque is a figure or image that is distorted or unnatural in shape, size, or form. It often has a combination of human and animal features, and is meant to evoke feelings of fear, horror, and disgust. Grotesques are often used in literature, art, and architecture.
Who are grotesque characters in literature examples?
Grotesque characters in literature are often exaggerated or distorted figures that are used to represent a certain idea or theme. Examples of grotesque characters include the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz, and Gollum from The Lord of the Rings.
What is the purpose of the grotesque?
The purpose of the grotesque is to create a sense of shock, awe, and/or humor in the audience. It is often used to make a statement or to draw attention to a particular issue. The grotesque can also be used to create a sense of the surreal or the absurd.
What is an example of the grotesque in literature?
An example of the grotesque in literature is found in the works of Edgar Allan Poe. His stories often feature characters with distorted physical features, such as the man with a "vulture-like" nose in "The Fall of the House of Usher," or the "hideous" old man in "The Masque of the Red Death." These characters embody the grotesque, as they are both physically and psychologically unsettling.

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