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標題: A Critique of Stigma Transformation in Alice Munro's "Face" and "Child's Play"
作者: 謝文珊
Wen-shan Shieh
關鍵字: Munro;stigma;shame;guilt;disability;孟若;汙名;羞愧感;罪惡感;失能
Project: 興大人文學報, Issue 61, Page(s) 113-136
Many critics have had difficulties tackling the pervasive sense of horror found in Alice Munro's short story collection Too Much Happiness (2009). Isla Duncan maintains that the horror of this collection is achieved by Munro's manipulation of narrative voice, especially exemplified in "Face" and "Child's Play." Whereas Duncan emphasizes the horror conveyed by the indifference of both narrators, I argue that what makes these two stories "horrifying" is rather the undercurrent of unacknowledged hate, disgust, shame, and guilt suggested by the narrators' voices of indifference. These repressed emotions intimate the characters' problematic responses to stigma and reveal the limits of stigma transformation. By focusing on "Face" and "Child's Play," two stories about the stigma of birthmarks and disability, this essay aims to explore how Munro addresses the limits of stigma transformation by portraying excessive emotions triggered by stigma, thereby revealing the characters' ambivalent responses to stigma. The first section of this essay discusses how disgust and hate are evoked by the interaction between the stigmatizer and the stigmatized. In the second part of this essay, I investigate how the narrator in "Face" tries to overcome his shame by hiding his birthmark, and how Marlene in "Child's Play" attempts to exonerate her guilt by publishing a book on disability. The essay argues that Munro's stories are "horrifying" because they resist transformative readings of stigma. "Face" and "Child's Play" remind readers to be more aware of the impact of stigmatization in ordinary life and to recognize the otherness of both others and ourselves.

Appears in Collections:興大人文學報第61期

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