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The Grotesque Essay

948 words - 4 pages

The Evolving Definition of the American Grotesque
The concept and elements of the grotesque is common theme explored in many American Films and Novels. The boundaries of what characterize an individual or subject matter as grotesque are somewhat imprecise and in constant evolution. Chuck Palahniuk’s “Invisible Monsters Remix” and Orson Welles’s film, “Touch of Evil” both introduce us to different elements of the American grotesque during different eras in American history. Although Palahniuk and Welles explore conventions in opposing worlds, the framework of their work promotes a common theme. We will argue how Palahniuk and Welles use the grotesque to illustrate and ...view middle of the document...

Welles uses Los Robles to emulate all that is grotesque during the 1950’s, a town full of corruption, violence and spotted morals, exemplifying a darker demonic aspect of the world.
Welles’s used grotesque characters that possessed qualities or problems that were considered not normal by social standards. Perhaps the most grotesque character in his film was himself. Hank Quinlan, played by Welles, was depicted as the as the monstrous and beastly looking sheriff of Los Robles. Quinlan has made a name for himself by framing the guilty and planting evidence where he sees fit. His perverse qualities, less than ethical standards and obsession with destroying Miguel Vargas reflect the destructive elements of the grotesque. Welles juxtaposes Quinlan’s character with Miguel Vargas; a clean, young Mexican police officer who coincidentally, involved in an interracial marriage. Although, he surfaces as the better cop, his over-zealous pursuit and obsession of trying to prove Quinlan’s corrupt ways, ultimate leads him to use some less-than ethical procedures himself.
The grotesque subject matter’s used by Welles are often insight into to the historical meaning a current situation. The political and cultural aspects of corruption and evil with law enforcement and negative attitude towards interracial marriage highlight some crucial cultural conventions of their time. Although, in today’s cultural these subject matters are more widely accepted, Welles used his characters to push the boundaries of society during his time.
Chuck Palahniuk’s, “Invisible Monsters,” captures the modern grotesque of America’s obsession with beauty. In today’s culture, it seems many will do whatever it takes to be beautiful. Anthony Napolean, author of “Awakening Beauty,”...

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