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"Disability and Its Metaphors"

Kristin's picture

From a recent blog post that's directly relevant to our class conversation tonight (as well as to previous conversations). 

"As a graduate student in English at UVA, I study stories and how they shape our communities. Though one might not immediately notice it, experiences of physical and mental disability occur throughout our books and movies, from the forgetful fish Dory in Finding Nemo to the Quebecois wheelchair assassins in Infinite Jest. Often plots revolve around resolving or “fixing” a disabled character, and inevitably, disability serves as a plot device rather than as a complex way of being in the world. Even the Steadfast Tin Soldier, who has only one leg and longs for the ballerina he imagines to be like him, drives the fairy tale forward with his search for bodily “wholeness.” In the words of disability studies theorists David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder, disability demands a narrative. If a body isn’t normal, we want to know how andwhy. . . . Because of this desire to interpret, disability becomes metaphorical—something that must be explained, understood, and ultimately overcome."

More of the post here: