A group forms and creates an ideal identity, which implies an "other" outside of this identity. The group imposes its ideals onto “others” potentially valuable after a transformation to create a like-ness. This is achieved through changing the embodiment in the case of both Fatelessness and Freak’s characters: in Cleopatra’s new Freak-ish body and Kertesz’s bodily scars and emotional distance.
Freaks is a struggle between separate institutional ideals for power. The two bodies from the “freaks” (Cleopatra) and the “normal” (Hans) people are representative devices. Cleopatra and Hans allow the other access to themselves through their romantic endeavors. Cleopatra seeks fortune from Hans, upon whom she attempts to poison. She disrespects Hans, seeing only him only for his money without considering his emotions as she would a “normal” person. As Cleopatra’s body is morphed into a bird and Hans does not die from her poison, she is outwitted: she experiences the loss of her agency, while Hans only loses some pride.
Kertesz, as an “other,” is forced by the Nazis to endure their mutilation process, based on what their ideals insist im/permissible. Nazi philosophy does not aim to assimilate Jews like Kertesz as “one of [them,]” but it forces embodiment changes to result in a discontinuance – a death. Kertesz does not become "one of [them]" in his embodiment but is indeed changed by them, and left virtually paralyzed by his experience.
Cleopatra’s embodiment, though, does aim for her to become “one of [them.]” Her new body fits in a very specific niche – she does not f...
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...strength, but a vulnerable weakness.
Thus, embodiment is the conscious perception of the “it” in opposition to “me.” “It’ has no feelings or personal agency. “Me,” though, is present. Embodiment is “being a body” and also consciously owning the body. Cleopatra’s change into a Freak is a loss, as it is unintentional. The extent of her power is not competent enough, though. Kertesz’s idea of himself changes as his embodiment does. They digress from existence as a “me” to “it.” “It” is the oppressive other’s view of the different individual: an “it” that “me” (the institution) can gain power over. When the institution gains control of another body, it embodies this body with itself, resulting in a death of the person that previously embodied it.
The changes in embodiment result in a loss. An integral affect of active embodiment is personal identity and agency.
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