Geek Hatred: Violent Reactions To The Extraordinary

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade July 2001

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The novel Geek Love by Katherine Dunn gives an insightful look into human nature. In telling a story about sideshow freaks and the lives they lead, Dunn allows herself the freedom to explore both the creative realm of her talents and her abilities to provoke contemplative thought. In this novel it is clear that body image and ideals are a major issue. The freaks are not happy unless they are extremely abnormal and skillful and the norms are not happy unless they are abnormally pretty or talented. What these high expectations lead to in the novel is a cycle of dissatisfaction, leading to a personal resentment, that ultimately begets violence. The extreme ends of the spectrum of personal dissatisfaction can be polarized in Arty Beinewski.

Arty Binewski is insecure about his "freakishness". He professes his disgust for the twins and how they can just sit there and people will pay them attention.

He appears to resent the fact that he has to work twice as hard and use all of his ingenuity to be as much of a freak as the two beautiful girls. Throughout the book, Arty;s laments continue as his insecurity grows. As his insecurity flourishes he feels the need to assume or usurp more and more power involving the travelling carnival. His deeds become more and more threatening and he is slowly revealed as the genuine monster that he really is. We find out it is possible that he murdered his sister the lizard-girl because of a fear that she might upstage him. His contempt for Chick and Chick's abilities is a apparent at all times. He has the Binewski carnival robbed in order to pay for the beating and robbing of his own father just to ensure his control over the family and foil Chicks contibutions.