As discussed in previous chapter, female violence is a real-life phenomenon that has been started to discuss in current literature since the image of women as angelic figures who are innocent, physically weaker, and nothing less than household commodities are no longer relevant in modern days. In observing the phenomenon, this research focuses on female violence in its portrayal found in a literary work and the ways in which this work characterizes and represents female violence.The phenomenon of female violence is clearly illustrated in Gillian Flynn’s novel Sharp Objects. In this novel, Camille Preaker returns to her home town to investigate Ann Nash’s strangulation, age nine, and Natalie Keene’s disappearance and later strangulation, age ten. Sharp Objects, narrated by Camille, presents a world soaked with violence. From the beginning of the novel, Camille is described as an alcoholic who cuts words into her own skin. She appears as a rather broken individual, leaving aside a positive representation of a role model character, who forcibly confronts her very own past including the death of her younger sister, Marian, years earlier. As she investigates the killings of the two victims, Camille interviews a young boy who claims to have seen a woman kidnapped Natalie Keen as the two played in the park. Camille also learns that the killer had shaved Ann’s legs and painted Natalie’s fingernails before killing them. However, despite the testimony of the young boy, the residents and police of Wind Gap still assume that the killer is male. While everybody assumes so, Camille continues to ask the police if they have any evidence to back up these claims. She begins to take the gender assumptions apart to widen the range of possible suspects. As the novel goes on, Camille begins to question the cause of Marian’s death and raising the number of the victims from two to three. Although Camille’s mother, Adora Crellin, was originally arrested by police for the murders of Ann Nash and Natalie Keene after finding a couple of pliers containing their blood among her property, they also identify the death of Marian decades earlier as a poisoning. Former nurse who took care of Marian as she was hospitalized prior to her death then reveals the truth that Adora suffers Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, a mental illness in which a caregiver deliberately causes the illness of a child in order to receive attention and sympathy, and had caused the death of her own daughter. Camille takes the custody of her thirteen-year-old half-sister, Amma, and move back to Chicago as a result of Adora’s arrest for the two murders, along with the killing of Marian. A few weeks later, a friend of Amma from her Chicago schools goes missing and later found strangled with her 22 teeth removed. The police then arrest her on three counts of homicide when they find the girl’s teeth, including Ann Nash’s and Natalie Keene’s, as the ivory floor of Amma’s dollhouse.This chapter answers the research questions that have been stated in chapter one which are the kinds of female violence portrayed in the novel, how female violence is portrayed, and the causes and effects of female violence in the novel. 4.1 Female Violence Portrayed in Gillian Flynn’s Sharp ObjectsFlynn’s debut novel contains three main female characters: Camille Preaker, Adora Crellin, and Amma Crellin. Camille Preaker is Adora’s first daughter who is born when she was only a teenager without Camille’s biological father ever in the picture. This explains why Camille’s last name is Adora’s maiden name before she is married to Alan Crellin. The third character, Amma Crellin, is Adora’s thirteen-year-old daughter who is born after the death of Marian, Adora’s first daughter from her marriage with Alan. Amma is Adora and Alan’s second daughter. Three of these female characters are the main focus of this research.Each of Sharp Objects’ female characters has their own version of violence. By examining these three main female characters, the researcher finds the ways in which their violence is portrayed and differ from each other. Thus, to answer the first research question, all kinds of female violence found in the novel are presented below. 4.1.1 Violence Against the Self: Deliberate Self-harmCamille Preaker, the main character, the protagonist, as well as the narrator of the story, is a thirty-year-old journalist who describes herself as “trash from money”. She is working for a small newspaper in Chicago when she gets a reporting assignment to her hometown, Wind Gap, Missouri, where a young girl has been murdered and another one is missing. She is unlikeable, unreliable, and difficult as a protagonist, and conflicted, self-loathing, wry as well as brilliant as a main character. After the death of her younger half-sister, Marian, Camille began to cut words into her own skin at age thirteen. She has covered her body in words made of scars and had been hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital for her self-harm behavior.
Table of Contents