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Stephen Kings `My Creature from the Black Lagoon`

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From Beyond the Place of Horror

Displacement of Reality through the Representation of the Unrepresentable


Andrew Murphie states , words can be sites of contests between competing social groups , as they attempt to assign and control specific meanings (3 . The term fantasy , for example , carries with it a freight of history and ideological baggage , which bears traces of the social changes

that have operated upon the term . Fantasy carries multiple meanings across an array of disciplines ranging from psychology to literary studies , all of which are semantically related . This is evident in their tendency to invoke the creative and imaginative powers of the human mind through the representation of what is otherwise considered as unrepresentable . Unrepresentability , in this sense pertains to the representation of that which lies beyond the peripheries of a culture 's epistemological and ontological framework (Jackson 23

It is important to note that all cultures operate within a conceptual framework with specific epistemological and ontological attachments to the objective and subjective senses of facts and hence reality . Reality in this sense , is thereby governed by abstract rules [in this case laws of nature] that determine the validity of an account of reality . The fantastic as it depicts a different version of reality exempts itself from this aforementioned law [laws of nature] and thereby transgresses the law . Such a transgression leads to the modification of the perceived relations that exist within reality . In other words , it leads to the formulation of possible redefinitions of the phenomena that exists within the peripheries of currently predominant conceptions of reality The fantastic thereby appeals to the creation of new possibilities outside the limitations of a particular conceptual scheme . Lovecraft states that such an act of representation enables the suspension or violation of the galling limitations of time , space , and natural law while in the process enabling the freedom of man 's curiosity about the infinite cosmic spaces beyond the radius of sight and analysis (113 The fantastic , in this sense , enables the representation of the unrepresentable through the contextualization of the unrepresentable within a conceptual scheme that allows the separation of the signifier and the signified

Within horror films , such a separation is evident in the creation of new entities whose existence defies preconceived patterns . Hence , one encounters an entity with life in death in both the characters of Dracula and Frankenstein . In other occasions , one encounters characters that defy preconceived categorizations to the extent that they are referred to as the unspeakable creatures ' in the invisible world whose existence lies within the black lagoon of dreams (King 538 The fantastic , in this sense , is represented as the unrepresentable or the unsayable . Such a representation stems from the difficulty of utterance and difficulty of contextualization of that which does not exist . Difficulty of utterance [representation as unsayable or unrepresentable] is based upon the...

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