By Kathlyn Conway
Released money owed of ailment and incapacity frequently emphasize desire and confident pondering: the girl who nonetheless regarded appealing after wasting her hair, the fellow who ran 5 miles an afternoon in the course of chemotherapy. This acclaimed exam of the style of the affliction narrative questions that upbeat technique. writer Kathlyn Conway, a three-time melanoma survivor and herself the writer of an disorder memoir, believes that the triumphalist method of writing approximately disorder fails to do justice to the shattering event of affliction. by way of wrestling with the problem of writing concerning the fact of great sickness and harm, she argues, writers can provide a more true photo of the advanced courting among physique and brain.
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Extra info for Beyond Words: Illness and the Limits of Expression
3 Much of the brilliance of the play Wit, by Margaret Edson, lies in its depiction of the verbal exchanges between Vivian Bearing, the main character, and those caring for her. Bearing, a professor of English literature in the hospital with terminal ovarian cancer, is repeatedly called upon to live out the denial of death implicit in the triumph narrative. The play opens with Bearing saying to the audience, “Hi. How are you feeling today? Great. ” 20 / Beyond Words Mimicking the greeting of those who enter her room all day, she alerts the audience to the absurdity of this question, with its call for cheeriness in her dire situation.
An example is Tiny Tim in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. The second representation is that of the “demonic cripple,” whose refusal to accept his situation warps his personality. In literature the “demonic cripple” inspires fear because others cannot understand what drives his pursuit of vengeance. ”36 As an example Kriegel points to Shakespeare’s character Richard III. For Kriegel these onedimensional and extreme depictions are problematic because they come to de‹ne a person from the outside.
11 Some writers ‹nd gallows humor in the widespread cultural acceptance of the New Age myth. ” With this in mind she hangs over her desk a New Yorker cartoon of two ducks in a pond. ”12 Andrew Solomon in The Noonday Demon quotes a woman who felt he was just not trying hard enough to ‹nd a solution for his depression: “You might want to know that all the effects you describe come from chronic poisoning. Look around you. Did you have your home insecticided, your lawn herbicided? Are you living with particleboard sub›ooring?