Cannibalism in Literature and Film by Jennifer Brown

By Jennifer Brown

From photographs of stewed missionaries to Hannibal Lecter's hiss, cannibals have intrigued whereas evoking horror and repulsion. The label of cannibal has been used all through historical past to denigrate a given person or team. through interpreting who's labelled cannibal at any given time, we will be able to comprehend the fears, prejudices, approved norms and taboos of society at the moment. From the cannibal in colonial literature, to the belief of local Gothic and the hillbilly cannibal, to serial killers, this booklet examines works via writers and administrators together with Joseph Conrad, H. Rider Haggard, Thomas Harris, Bret Easton Ellis, Cormac McCarthy, Wes Craven, and Tim Burton. It explores questions of cultural id and otherness within the sleek interval, delivering a massive and unique exam of cultural norms and fears near to nationwide, fiscal, linguistic, and sexual identification. Amidst the pointy enamel and awful urge for food of the cannibal, the booklet examines actual fears of over-consumerism and intake that difficulty an ever-growing sleek global.

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Of course, these are supposedly factual accounts and attempts to understand the world and its people. However, Graham Greene’s travel writings display a certain nostalgia for the heroic adventures and hand-to-hand battles with anthropophagous fiends. Towards the end of the century, as the empire had collapsed, colonial fiction seemed to be no longer as relevant to the reading public. Colonial cannibalism did not disappear, however, and suddenly, in a post-colonial world of turmoil and power snatching, cannibalism appeared again in a boom of Italian cannibal films.

Yet, in the face of this hunger, the cannibals resist. How they do so remains a mystery to Marlow, and the cannibal’s famished state and mammoth restraint are forgotten in the fear of attack, not to be mentioned again. The cannibals’ hunger and their reasons for not indulging it are subsumed into Marlow’s idea of what hunger is: Don’t you know the devilry of lingering starvation, its exasperating torment, its black thoughts, its sombre and brooding ferocity? Well, I do. It takes a man all his inborn strength to fight hunger properly.

Moreover, I believe that the narrative itself is cannibalistic. Control over voice confers power and the manipulation of representation. Orality, the metaphor of the mouth, and voice, are critical issues in discussing a cannibalistic tale. This is especially the case given the nature of the narration in Heart of Darkness. Thus cannibalism functions in the novel as the locus for questions of control: control of appetite, desire, enemies, resources, and representation. First I will examine the depiction of Africa as a cannibalistic zone populated by real cannibals in the novel.

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