By Kathlyn Conway
"Author Kathlyn Conway, a three-time melanoma survivor, believes that the triumphalist method of writing approximately affliction fails to do justice to the shattering event of illness. through wrestling with the problem of writing in regards to the fact of significant disorder and harm, she argues, writers can supply a more true photograph of the complicated dating among physique and mind"--Provided through publisher.
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Additional resources for Beyond words : illness and the limits of expression
In the end he came to realize not only that denial of his blindness was crazy and irresponsible—he repeatedly put himself and others in danger—but that it was also exhausting and limiting. He had to work very hard at activities like reading and walking that could have been made much easier had he used Braille, a seeing eye dog, and a cane. But to accept those aids, he had to give up the fantasy that success meant denying his physical limitations. 48 Kleege was pronounced blind in 1967 when she was eleven.
Because the triumph story has become so embedded in our culture, its repercussions play out with regard to individual patients. Children with polio are expected to walk; those who are blind are encouraged to function as if they can see. It is a narrative that most of us have internalized. As a result, we not only expect others to remain optimistic and transcend illness or accident, but when we ourselves are ill or disabled, we struggle to live up to this impossible ideal. When we cannot ‹nd it in ourselves to battle, to look healthy, to remain optimistic, we feel we are failing.
Mee does not simply reject the triumph narrative but realizes that its appeal resides in the fact that people, including the disabled, cannot bear failure. He understands that people need to embrace stories of triumph and ignore stories of people who do not get better. ”26 He goes on to say, “We don’t need to learn how to fail in our lives; we need to learn how to succeed. . ”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.