Let’s gather around the children who like to learn words at school, camps, at home, or even outside with their friends. We get together gathered around a table with our pens and papers to play a fun simple game of hangman. Innocent it may seem at first glance, kids guessing letters to learn words, but at what point does this child’s play become a horror story for the grotesque?
This game of hangman has young kids drawing a noose around typically a stick figures necks and if the wrong letters are guessed then more and more body pieces are slowly added to the head until it slowly becomes a whole body. Although most children do not understand the concept of death nor do they understand the meaning of murder. However, the one who teaches them more than likely does comprehend what is going on behind the curtain of this fun game.
Furthermore, because this game of torture is widely accepted by the adults in society, I believe that it would be safe to say that this game of hangman belongs to the grotesque. It could also be argued that the game expresses different theories of the grotesque, for instance we could look at the abjection and the carnival grotesque body image.
For starters, the abjection of this game would be placed on the adults who believe that there is no harm in letting children hang an imaginary figure for the purpose of learning, thus “me that is not me” comes into play for if this were a living object, this game would create a true horror that would never be accepted by society, but because it is child’s play, the game is in a sense overlooked. Then there is the idea of the carnival grotesque as it bring death for the amusement of children or in this case the “laughter degrades and materializes”.
Therefore, perhaps we should think twice before teaching our children the grotesque game of hangman.