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#4 LAR

nienna's picture

“The body as home, but only if it is understood that language too lives under the skin.” (CLAIRE 12). As using some key words to talk about home, Eli Claire never defines the word itself, despite having devoted a whole chapter to the topic. Language is one of the reasons why I am writing this text. Eli Claire said he would never find home in the mountain I will never have “home” as my home. Lar is. Lar is the Portuguese word for home and derives from the Latin word lar. That means the guardians gods of the house and the family and also means fireplace, where the Romans families gathered to cook and warm up. Looking at Eli Claire’s definitions of home in light of the Latin origin of the word, how far did his concept of home and who he became shaped each other.

“Home starts here in my body, in all that lies beneath my skin” (CLAIRE 10) Body is the first keyword presented by the author. The body as home have places, community and words deep into our bones that make us who we are. Eli makes clear that without accepting his conditions of disabled, violated, white and queer body, he could not accept himself and thus not accept home. He also makes the point that bodies can be stolen (by diseases, by violence, by other people) and, most importantly, can be recovered in a rebirth of joy, fury and hope. “When I found dykes, fell in love for the first time, came into a political queer community, I felt as if I had found home again” (CLAIRE 10) By recovering his body, by setting himself free, by accepting who he was, Eli could find his home under the body view.

“I will never find home on the mountain” (CLAIRE 10) As a supercrip, trying to overcome himself by climbing mountains, Eli Claire clarifies that the mountain can never be his home, not literally or metaphorically. “Because down at the base of the mountain waits a nursing home.”  However, he needs to climb it, because he knows the day he stop challenging himself, will be the day he will lose his body for the disability and thus lose home. “Supercrip will be dead; the nursing home, burnt down; the metaphoric mountain, collapsed in volcanic splendor” (CLAIRE 13) Eli dreams that disabled people’s lives not to be seen as heroic or tragic. Because society’s prejudice against disabled people, words as freak, crip, end up helping to define their concept of home and in this case, Eli’s.

“I lie when I write that home is being a dyke in a dyke community. Rather, home is a particular wild and ragged beaches, (…) I grew up near, (…) Exile is the hardest because I have irrevocably loss that place as actual home.” (CLAIRE 32) By explaining his exile and why did it happen, he ends up explaining the home he lost. Port Orford, logging and fishing, childhood full of books and trees, abuse, feeling unsafe, prejudice against disabled and gay people, allegiance. The abuse he suffered by his father, the impairment society says he has, the willingness to overcome himself helped to both constitute who he is today and what home means to him.

“How we view ourselves, the razor between finding home, finding our bodies, and living in exile, living on the metaphoric mountain.” (CLAIRE 12) According to Eli, they are all connected. Despite the abuses suffered, Eli still keeps some logging memories with his father, because that is what lar means. Not a specific place itself, but where you feel guarded by the guardians gods or where you gather with the family. “I certainly don’t believe that I can cure my displacement with a simple move back to Oregon mountains” (CLAIRE 48) Because the meaning of home is much deeper than that. Eli’s home is rather a place in memory that mixes both the utopia of an improved society and some memories of the childhood that he has. Both good and bad. This is why he will never find home anywhere, home is the process of becoming the man he is today.



Works Cited

Eli Clare, Part I: "Place." Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness and Liberation. Brooklyn: South End Press, 1999. 

Origem da Palavra Group. Origem da Palavra. (Origin of the word)

Rio de Janeiro, 18 Oct. 2010. Web. 20 Oct. 2014. ‹›