The Use of Disgust Elicitors in Greek Love by Katherine Dunn

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The fundamental nature of the element of disgust is quite unsavory. Disgust is a relatively new term for a sensory experience that spans thousands of years, and has been studied throughout the millennium of Western history by philosophers and psychologists alike, to include Darwin, Hume, Hazlitt, and Freud (Miller, 1997). Psychologists generally disagree that disgust should be classified as an emotion; but rather the sensory processing of its elicitors is what constitutes an emotional response (Plantiga, 2009). The primary nature of the element of disgust is that it serves as a social function by differentiating between appropriate class behaviors and attitudes. While Darwin’s etiology of the term was reserved to primarily describe offensive tastes, it has taken on very broad connotations since then, referring to anything that is extremely displeasing or revolting by means of all five senses (Miller, 1997). More importantly, the term plays an important role in moral judgment, as reflected by social and cultural norms and beliefs. This paper will briefly examine the use of disgust elicitors in the book “Geek Love,” as well as the literary usage and connotations of modern day applications.
In terms of literary practice, the physically disgusting is often described in visceral detail, specifically in adult fiction, and it almost always is used in a narrative context (Plantiga, 2009). However, it has not been used extensively in modern fiction works. The book “Geek Love” by
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