Narcissism In Katherine Dunn's Geek Love

737 Words3 Pages
Stigmatized by pop culture and modern society, individuals suffering from disabilities are often labeled as abnormal. Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love challenges this societal norm by creating a family comprised solely of freaks who display physical disabilities alienating them from the norms of society. Al and Crystal Lil Binewski breed their family using a concoction of narcotics, which is generally frowned upon by society and medical experts. Their actions generate children with disabilities to use in their travelling carnival operation—the Binewski Fabulon. Star of the show Arturo Binewski, born with flippers rather than hands and feet, leverages his popularity to gain power over his family and the audiences he generates. In gaining this power and making himself the most important aspect of the carnival, Arty displays signs of narcissism against both family members and his audience. Arty’s first display of narcissistic personality disorder is associated with the birth of Chick into the Binewski family. “When Chick came along, both twins adored him…But Arty was different. He was separate” (Dunn 52). Upon parents Al and Lil calling Chick—who was born physically normal, but has telekinetic…show more content…
While interacting with the audience during a show, an audience member cries out to Arty “I want to be like you are!” (Dunn 178). This comment challenged the idea of Arty’s identity crisis, suggesting his audience members are the ones lacking identity. In his publication entitled Narcissism, the Self, and Society, psychologist Reuben Fine argues that patients lacking an identity may find themselves with the help of a group (234). The thought of giving an identity to flocks of desperate followers fueled Arty’s narcissism, leading to the formation of the Arturan Cult—a group of devoted supporters who undergo series of amputations in order to receive their identity from Arturo
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