The Banality of Violence in A. L. Kennedy’s Early Short Stories

Acta Neophilologica

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Title The Banality of Violence in A. L. Kennedy’s Early Short Stories
Banalnost nasilja v zgodnjih zgodbah A. L. Kennedyja
Creator Jelínková, Ema
Subject A. L. Kennedy
Scottish literature
women’s writing
banality of evil
A. L. Kennedy
škotska književnost
žensko pisanje
banalnost zla
Description The present paper adapts Hannah Arendt’s concept of the banality of evil to illustrate the banality of a specific manifestation of evil, which is violence, as it is presented in the early short stories of A. L. Kennedy. Selected stories from Kennedy’s first two collections, Night Geometry and the Garscadden Trains (1990) and Now that You’re Back (1994), are analysed to show that, like Arendt, Kennedy does not dismiss the perpetrators of violent acts as sadistic monsters but rather perceives them in their complexity as human beings who may commit inhuman crimes, yet cannot be explained away easily as less than human. Kennedy’s point about the banality of violence – banality in the sense of commonness or ordinariness, not in the sense of triviality – is reinforced by her preoccupation with ordinary characters leading mundane lives, whose humdrum existence is disrupted by unexpected, though typically unexceptional, circumstances. Lacking the capacity or skill to cope by non-violent means, Kennedy’s characters resort to violence in a perverted attempt to come to terms with the uncertainty of life and to express in a physical manner what they cannot express in language.
Članek uporabi concept Hannah Arendt o banalnosti nasilja za ilustracijo banalnost specifične manifestacije zla, ki je nasilje, kot ga najdemo v zgodnjih kratkih zgodbah A.L. Kennedyja.
Publisher Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakulte / Ljubljana University Press, Faculty of Arts
Date 2020-11-26
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Format application/pdf
Source Acta Neophilologica; Vol 53 No 1-2 (2020); 49-59
Acta Neophilologica; L. 53 Št. 1-2 (2020); 49-59
Language eng
Rights Copyright (c) 2020 Ema Jelínková

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