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The normal abnormal: the case of 'Cirque du freak: the vampire's assistant'


Anders, Lisann (2020). The normal abnormal: the case of 'Cirque du freak: the vampire's assistant'. In: Cutler-Broyles, Teresa. The big top on the big screen: explorations of the circus in film. Jefferson, NC, USA: McFarland, 47-59.

Abstract

From an involuntary state to a conscious decision, being a freak can be confining as well as liberating at the same time. However, it is up to the group of freaks in the form of a circus, to give a voice to individual outsiders and function as a safety net and surrogate family to teenagers as well as adults. Whereas for bystanders these freaks disturb the social norms, in the circus space, the abnormal is the norm. Therefore, it can be observed that in a circus surrounding, borders are transgressed and boundaries established. The normal/abnormal dichotomy and the transgression of this binary opposition is also of interest in modern popular culture in which the theme of freak shows experiences a revival. Paul Weitz’s film Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (2009), which is based on Darren Shan’s novel series Cirque du Freak, also known as The Saga of Darren Shan, depicts an excellent example of the circus as a space of outsiders. In my chapter, I explore the search for identity in the realms of the circus and the freedom and restraints that come with such an environment. The main focus is put on the teenage characters of the film, who all go on a journey of liberation, identification, and growing up within the frame of the circus. Hence, I the aim is to show that outsiders in the film Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant are confined to the circus space by society but that they can liberate themselves at the same time by means of the circus and thus gain a voice through the circus.

Abstract

From an involuntary state to a conscious decision, being a freak can be confining as well as liberating at the same time. However, it is up to the group of freaks in the form of a circus, to give a voice to individual outsiders and function as a safety net and surrogate family to teenagers as well as adults. Whereas for bystanders these freaks disturb the social norms, in the circus space, the abnormal is the norm. Therefore, it can be observed that in a circus surrounding, borders are transgressed and boundaries established. The normal/abnormal dichotomy and the transgression of this binary opposition is also of interest in modern popular culture in which the theme of freak shows experiences a revival. Paul Weitz’s film Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (2009), which is based on Darren Shan’s novel series Cirque du Freak, also known as The Saga of Darren Shan, depicts an excellent example of the circus as a space of outsiders. In my chapter, I explore the search for identity in the realms of the circus and the freedom and restraints that come with such an environment. The main focus is put on the teenage characters of the film, who all go on a journey of liberation, identification, and growing up within the frame of the circus. Hence, I the aim is to show that outsiders in the film Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant are confined to the circus space by society but that they can liberate themselves at the same time by means of the circus and thus gain a voice through the circus.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Language:English
Date:16 January 2020
Deposited On:03 Dec 2019 15:12
Last Modified:07 Apr 2020 07:08
Publisher:McFarland
ISBN:978-1-4766-7118-5
OA Status:Closed
Related URLs:https://mcfarlandbooks.com/product/the-big-top-on-the-big-screen/ (Publisher)

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