Mini Devils: Dynamics of Power in a Community of Laughter

John Wakota


This article examines the role of humour in Wilson Kaigalura’s novel, Mini Devils (2006) primarily because humour and laughter are among the most cherished traits of human being. Yet, what we laugh about, why, and how, are questions of serious concern. Using Susanne Reich and Mark Stein’s (2005) explication of the notion of communities of laughter, this article situates literary humour-laughter relationship within the stimuli-response framework and reads the characters as constituting a community of laughter that functions as an infrastructural site of sociability and socialisation. Drawing upon the theories of power, the article analyses the political and social aspects of humour that come in subtle ways, and yet serve major ways through which to access meanings that reveal, stabilise, or destabilise notions of power in society. This shift, from analysing humour and laughter as aesthetic devices to analysing them as deliberate political acts, can illuminate on our understanding of power dynamics and differentiation in society. The analysis shows that the characters’ performance of humour and its appreciation are goal-oriented and forms of power that are not always monopolised by particularised groups of people but can also be manipulated by all and sundry regardless of their social status in society.

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