Liminality & AHFOG

As I was reading chapters 21/22, I was struck by how well Tremblay situates his novel in a sense of liminality. Even before Marjorie begins acting strange, the Barrett family is already living in an in-between; with the dad losing his job and the family having to start the process of resituating themselves. Before they can do that, however, the Marjorie saga begins and everyone is thrown deeper into this unsettling, liminal state.

We’ve discussed at length the role of ambiguity in this novel and other pieces of horror, and what I think AHFOG does so well is it continuously tries and tests our limits existing as readers in this space. Early analysis of ‘the liminal’ describes certain “transitional rites” and rituals that have a natural order to them, i.e., after completing a rite of passage, so to speak, a person would cross a threshold and be restored to a newly stable state of being. What’s interesting here, is that Marjorie goes through a rite, the exorcism, but there is no real revelation or restoration afterward.

Or, you could view Marjorie’s suicide (or at least I think that’s what happened – I haven’t reached the end yet) as her way of tragically breaking free from the liminal. Tremblay could be implicitly arguing that we will always exist in a liminal state, firmly rooted in the not-knowingness of the digital/reality-tv/globalized age. If Marjorie truly was “possessed by pop-culture”, then the only way out is to unplug.

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