The Dark Side of Society in Two Malaysian Short Stories: A Grotesque Reading


  • Fateha Aziz, University of Worcester, UK



This paper operates on the notion of the unintentional grotesque and aims to explore elements of the grotesque in Lee Kok Liang's “Just a Girl†(1968) and Lisa Ho King Li's “The Tiger and the Moth†(1991). A grotesque reading of the two works was done based on several reasons: the misfit characters, the grotesque elements present in the stories and ultimately, the grotesque manipulation of power towards the Other in society. This article aims to analyse elements of grotesque in the two stories via its thematisation of notions of alterity and manipulation of power. I also argue that the grotesque elements serve as a critique of the social malaise portrayed in the stories. Lisa Ho's misfit is the effeminate Endi, an illegitimate child of mixed parentage with mottephobia whose status as the other leads to a grotesque death. The misfit in Lee's work is portrayed via the nameless blind girl facing a bleak future as a result of her blindness and her father's abuse of paternal authority. While both protagonists are polar opposites, they both face grotesque consequences because of who they are. By relating to this, this paper argues that the grotesque elements expose readers to the unexpected, dark side of society.


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Author Biography

Fateha Aziz, University of Worcester, UK

Fateha Aziz is currently writing her PhD thesis, a metamodern analysis of Terry Pratchett’s corpus of children’s fiction. She received her BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature and MA in English Literary Studies from IIUM. Her primary research interests include children’s literature, fantasy, 21st century fiction, and postpostmodern theories. She was a guest co-editor for Worcester Papers, Issue 1 (2014), a journal edited by postgraduate students in the Institute of Humanities and Creative Arts, University of Worcester.




How to Cite

Aziz, University of Worcester, UK, F. (2015). The Dark Side of Society in Two Malaysian Short Stories: A Grotesque Reading. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 9(1), 177–192.



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