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Title: Visions of Fear - The Power of Shock of du Maurier's Suicide Birds
Authors: LIMA, Maria Antónia
Editors: Ceia, Carlos; Alarcão, Miguel; Ramos, Iolanda
Keywords: Fear
Daphne du Maurier
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Caleidoscópio
Citation: in Letras & Ciências. As Duas Culturas de Filipe Furtado, Lisbon: Caleidoscópio, 2009, pp.111-116.
Abstract: “Visions of Fear: the power of shock of Du Maurier’s suicide birds.” Not all gothic fictions of the past are able to adapt themselves to the cultural fears of the present recreating the same feelings of unrest and insecurity that stimulated readers’ emotions many years ago. In spite of the trivialization of terrifying and violent images in contemporary film and fiction, the visual and psychological impact of Daphne Du Maurier’s suicide birds on readers’ imagination is still very strong. Its shocking waves continue to reverberate through time and space like the blood red colours of the skyline in Edvard Munch’s Scream. In an age full of natural disasters and aerial terrorist attacks, we should never ignore the consciousness – raising portrait of terror presented by Du Maurier in “Birds”, for its references to the bombing raids in England during the World War II and its analogy to the atmosphere of fear in the Cold War years. The prophetic vision of this story will always be able to translate the existential crisis of contemporary times so well as Picasso’s Guernica, Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness, Francis Bacon’s paintings or Kafka’s tales. The secret for this so big success, is not merely due to a screen version by Alfred Hitchcock, but because the original story was already like a piece of modern art that defies interpretation. Both film and fiction never explain why the birds attack the humans. Viewers and readers can only be afraid of the unknown and shocked by what overpowers rational calculation and causality. “The End” doesn’t appear on the screen and Du Maurier didn’t give a conclusive end to her story. Both writer and film director leave a message to their public: the terror caused by the birds’ revenge will never end, because we never knew how it began. There is no end for fear in a time of terror and this is perhaps the shocking reality no one will want to see. Like the famous shot of a razor cutting the eyeball at the start of Un Chien Andalou by Buñuel, Du Maurier’s story produces a similar shock incision. It seems “there was something ugly in the sight”, but the birds remind us that we shall loose our eyes if we can’t perceive the meanings of such ugliness. The grotesque images associated with this story justify direct associations with several works of visual arts, whose power of shock could help us to recuperate a vision so limited by false images.
Type: bookPart
Appears in Collections:LLT - Publicações - Capítulos de Livros

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