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Stolen and Reclaimed Bodies

lgleysteen's picture

Eli Clare’s book, Exile and Pride, did an excellent job tying together issues of class, sexuality, and disability.  Clare writes from each perspective, discussing her struggles with his gender identity, his socio-economic status, and disability.  Clare makes an interesting point by saying, “Disability snarls into gender.  Class wraps around race. Sexuality strains against abuse.  This is how to reach beneath the skin.”(159)  This ties into a common theme in Exile and Pride which is the body as home.  At some point in any person’s life I am sure they have felt like their body isn’t home   Society has taught us that the perfect body is something that only few people can achieve..  Anything outside the perfect, healthy, gendered, body is stigmatized. The issue of the body being separate from the self is not just related to gender but also race, class, religion, and disability.  Clare talked about her body not only as physical object but a symbol of her experiences.  She discussed the points her his life in which she was forced to make a complete divide between her consciousness and her body.  Clare made this divide in order to endure the physical and emotional pain caused by her father’s abuse as well as her disability.  He uses the metaphor as his body as an empty house which he lived in exile.  This is not a struggle that Clare faces alone.  Many people have created a divide between their consciousness and their body. I want to know how that separation can be repaired.  How after isolating one’s body from their mind for so long, it can be something that is called home.  Clare briefly mentioned that it’s necessary to reclaim one’s body as home but how can a stolen body be reclaimed? What things can be done to recognize that one’s body is their own?