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Title: Defeating the Stigma of Disability through Determination in Helen Keller’s The Story of My Life
Authors: Sapkota, Dev Narayan
Keywords: Sociocultural discourse;Disability fabricated
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Department of English
Institute Name: Central Department of English
Level: Masters
Abstract: This thesis talks about challenging and defeating the discourse of disability fabricated by the so-called “normal” majority in Helen Keller’s The Story of My Life. The socio-cultural discourse devaluates and stigmatizes the undesired differences or those who do not meet the “normalcy parameters” as “disabled”. Disability (undesired differentness) is misinterpreted as “the lack”, “bodily inadequacy”, or “misfortune” to be compensated for through pity and sympathy rather than a civil rights model, and the people with disabilities are regarded as “the other”, “deviant”, “inferior”, “passive”, “weak”, “awkward”, “savage”, “less than human”, and so forth with all negative connotations. But, my point is that our real human bodies are exceedingly diverse in—size, shape, color, texture, structure, function, development, and so on—and they are constantly changing. So, we can no longer essentialize the body. Instead, the society and culture essentializes or idealizes the body and makes negative imputations to the undesired differences and overshadows the abilities with the narks of disgrace which is devalued and deeply discrediting. Hence, disability is merely a socio-cultural web of meanings rather than a biological given. It is simply a discourse created by the so-called “normals” to justify their false “superiority” or “ability”. Thus, disability is neither “the lack of ability”, nor “the different ability”; rather it is the diversity of human. Helen Keller, a visually as well as hearing impaired (“deaf-blind”) girl who never thinks she has “disabilities” and challenges and defies all cultural abominations of the body, blemishes of individual character, low-expectations, and the negative attitudes that the society and culture historically had towards the people with disabilities (undesired differences).
Appears in Collections:English

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