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Modalities of Complaint

Modalities of Complaint

(p.40) 2 Modalities of Complaint
Aggressive Fictions
Kathryn Hume
Cornell University Press

This chapter is concerned with both how complaints assault the reader and what inducements they offer to continue reading despite the unpleasantness. “Complaints” in this chapter are defined as the relentless articulation of discontent, usually characterized by strong emotive elements. The chapter shows how a novel can create a voice and pitch that voice to an implied reader who colludes in or ignores the injustices of the world. Pitching the voice, in the sense of tuning it to a particular frequency, says something important about the modern form. Hence the chapter also explores how we can open ourselves to material we find unpalatable, and what we might gain from doing so. To facilitate discussion, this chapter considers works by seven authors, representing male and female voices, self-centered and other-centered lamentations, and speakers from a variety of subordinate positions.

Keywords:   complaints, modern complaints, subordination, discontent, strong emotive elements, injustices

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