Borrowed angels and "roll" models: Disability and illness life narratives
Keefer, Ann Rose
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This dissertation examines disability and illness life narratives published between the early 1980's and 2004, including Frank Deford's Alex: The Life of a Child , Lucy Grealy's Autobiography of a Face , Ann Patchett's Truth and Beauty: A Friendship , John Hockenberry's Moving Violations and Kenny Fries' Body, Remember . I apply studies of the culture of sentiment, shame, Erving Goffman's stigma theory, masculinity studies, autobiography theory and disability studies to examining the ways in which these narratives, both individually, juxtaposed, and collectively, offer reinterpretations of the subject position implied by the term "disability". In every case, the authors I have included challenge the medical model of disability, choosing to portray themselves or their lost loved ones as energetic, unique, often funny and charming individuals worthy of our attention and respect.