Telling Our Story: A Literary Analysis of Disability Narratives




Patterson, Andrew

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This thesis seeks to answer the question: what are the best practices when creating a narrative about disability? To answer this question, I analyze the development of disability narratives throughout four novels written over the last century; The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night-time by Mark Haddon, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The first two novels feature a first person narration of disability, a character with a disability serves as the narrator of at least part of the novel. The second two novels feature a third person narration of disability, a non-disabled narrator telling the story of someone with a disability. I find that the best narrative practices utilize first person narrations, avoid counterproductive narrative tropes such as the kill or cure trope and techniques such as disability as a narrative prosthesis, and otherwise provide as realistic an image of disability as possible in a work of fiction.



Disability Studies, Literature, Disability, Faulkner, William, Steinbeck, John, Lee, Harper, Haddon, Mark, Fiction