Stigma In Geek Love

1291 Words 6 Pages
Stigmatized by pop culture and modern society, individuals suffering from physical disabilities are often labeled as abnormal. Katherine Dunn’s novel Geek Love challenges this stigma by creating a family comprised solely of “freaks” who display physical disabilities alienating them from the norms of society. To create this family of freaks, parents Al and Crystal Lil Binewski conceive their children while taking a concoction of narcotics—a practice frowned upon by society and medical experts alike due to the increased probability of birth defects. Abandoning their children who appear “normal,” the family raises those born with deformities as performers in their travelling carnival operation—the Binewski Fabulon. Star of the show Arturo Binewski, …show more content…
While performing his aqua show at the carnival, Arty inquires about the twins’ performance relative to his own. Using ticket sales to measure performance, Arty becomes enraged when Elly and Iphy draw larger crowds than himself. “He’d always been jealous…If they [Elly and Iphy] had as many or more in their audience he was furious” (Dunn 74). While the twins occasionally draw larger crowds, Arty always has spectators as well; however, he expects to draw the largest crowd for every performance. Psychoanalyst Otto F. Kernsberg—whose specialization includes narcissistic pathology—believes people suffering from narcissistic personality disorder take admiration for granted and are afraid of being average when compared to their competitors (50). Kernsberg’s theory demonstrates the reason behind Arty’s unwillingness to settle for second best, and links his behavior to his narcissistic …show more content…
Empathy—the ability to sense the feelings of another person—is a key component of narcissism when used to provide therapy to others, while simultaneously boosting the narcissist’s sense of self-importance (Fine 53). Due to the fact that Arty uses empathy to grow his following, which in turn boosts his sense of self-importance, the conclusion can be made that Arty’s use of empathy is a conscious decision, made as a result of his struggle with

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