By Kathlyn Conway
"Author Kathlyn Conway, a three-time melanoma survivor, believes that the triumphalist method of writing approximately sickness fails to do justice to the shattering event of affliction. by way of wrestling with the problem of writing in regards to the fact of significant disease and damage, she argues, writers can supply a more true photo of the complicated courting among physique and mind"--Provided by way of publisher.
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Extra resources for Beyond words : illness and the limits of expression
Eventually additional tests indicated she suffered from macular degeneration, a disease that was causing her to slowly lose sight. ”49 When she asked about learning Braille, she was told it was unnecessary and too hard. Perhaps the triumph narrative played a role here. If she could manage to read without Braille, she could appear normal. In fact, she was ingenious about ‹nding ways to adapt: she read with magnifying glasses and held the book close to her face. This caused pain above her eye that spread to her forehead and other eye and also caused pain in her neck and shoulder muscles.
Polio as Triumph Perhaps there is no better example of the clash in American culture between the reality of disease and the narrative of triumph than the story of polio victims in the 1950s. Charles Mee and Leonard Kriegel have each written poignantly and insightfully about their childhood The Cultural Story of Triumph / 25 experience with the disease. 15 The March of Dimes campaign raised an astounding amount of money, enough to pay the expenses of anyone stricken with polio, as Mee points out.
28 For a boy with polio this refusal had very personal rami‹cations. “This culture made me feel, as a boy, that I The Cultural Story of Triumph / 29 needed to keep my chin up, reassure my parents about how well I was doing, never be sad, look to the future, be optimistic. . ”29 Mee’s critique of cultural attitudes toward disability is part of his larger critique of American culture and its insistence on triumph as a way to deny certain realities—that not every one in our society succeeds in escaping poverty, that death does occur, that not all problems can be ‹xed.