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Banned EmotionsHow Metaphors Can Shape What People Feel$
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Laura Otis

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190698904

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190698904.001.0001

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Making Suffering Visible

Making Suffering Visible

(p.79) Chapter 5 Making Suffering Visible
Banned Emotions

Laura Otis

Oxford University Press

Attempts to manifest one’s suffering visually can turn aggressive if the people who have supposedly caused one’s pain refuse to see the results. Metaphors that suggest how pain looks can convey the cutting, wounding aspects of emotional anguish. Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground associates spite and vengefulness with darkness and dirt and shows how painful encounters can be when a hidden creature reveals himself to others. Franz Kafka’s representation of Gregor Samsa as a monstrous vermin in The Metamorphosis forces Gregor’s family to see the emotions they have aroused by exploiting him. Michael Haneke’s 2005 film Caché depicts a marginalized family determined to make a privileged man see how he has benefited from their deprivation. With a violent literal and metaphoric “cut,” the poor man ensures that the rich one will never stop witnessing the pain he has caused. Manifested visually, emotional pain can show itself through violent transformations of bodies.

Keywords:   visualization, witnessing, visual metaphors, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from the Underground, Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis, Michael Haneke, Caché

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