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By Jennifer Brown

From photos 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 background to denigrate a given person or staff. through reading who's labelled cannibal at any given time, we will comprehend the fears, prejudices, accredited norms and taboos of society at the moment. From the cannibal in colonial literature, to the belief of neighborhood Gothic and the hillbilly cannibal, to serial killers, this ebook examines works by means of 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, providing an immense and unique exam of cultural norms and fears near to nationwide, financial, linguistic, and sexual id. Amidst the pointy enamel and awful urge for food of the cannibal, the ebook examines genuine fears of over-consumerism and intake that hassle an ever-growing glossy international.

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This indicates that they are considered sources of exotic dread; they are vampire bats or zombies, both figures that represent a threat to boundaries of accepted behaviour through their appetites for consuming human flesh. The question of whether the natives are fully human is pondered over by Marlow. While he does feel some distant affiliation with the ‘wild passionate uproar’ of the natives and is thrilled by the thought of their humanity – like his own (51) – this remains an ugly thought and is relegated to a suspicion rather than a conviction.

Marlow introduces the cannibal crew to his tale while describing the difficulties of manoeuvring the boat up river, telling his listeners that ‘more than once she had to wade for a bit, with twenty cannibals splashing around and pushing’ (49). The cannibals are not assigned any age, gender, nationality, or physical description, except for the fact that their teeth are filed (52) – like vampires. Their sole identity is that of the cannibal. Marlow goes on to tell his listeners that the cannibals are not entirely bad: ‘fine fellows .

Kurtz is an important character, not least because at the time of publication, racial boundaries were among the most important lines of demarcation for English society. Fears, not only of colonial rebellion, but of racial mingling, cross-breeding, and intermarriage, fuelled scientific and political interest in establishing clear lines of demarcation between black and white, East and West. Typical fin de siècle fears involve notions of degeneration. Elaine Showalter argues that fears of degeneration resulted in a need for rigid definitions of race: In periods of cultural insecurity, when there are fears of regression and degeneration, the longing for strict border controls around the definition of gender, as well as race, class, and nationality, becomes especially intense.

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