Tag Archive: disability studies


Disillusion

Bianca Lopez Munoz

–October 7, 2000–

Becoming a new parent is anxiety filling but exciting for many. For Victoria, it was no different.

–I’ve always wanted to be a mother. My anticipation and fascination with motherhood started when I was a child. I would pretend to change doll’s diapers and feed them with a bottle. I’d even take them for a stroll on a miniature stroller. My own mother has an album of childhood drawings, many of them include me holding a child in a bundle. I also collected random items from my own room like toys and blankets for my own future child–which I still have. In retrospect, my preparation at such a young age for becoming a mother seems a bit excessive but I believe it’s a testament to how badly I want this and how driven I am to raising a child. Though this pregnancy has been quite uncomfortable and filled with restless nights, I’m happy and extremely grateful for it since it’s common for the women in my family to have problems conceiving. I often daydream about what my life will be life postpartum. At the beginning, the diapers, the feedings, the sleepless nights. But later, being there for their first words, hopefully mom–Their first step, their first haircut, their first day at school, their first winter and snowball fight, their first academic and sports awards, their first time at disneyland, their wedding, my future grandchildren. I can’t wait! I’ve often been told that I will be an amazing mother, and though I am a bit nervous, I believe them. This is what I was made to do. This is such a blessing for me, and my family.  My dad hopes my child inherits his athleticism since he was once a star athlete in his younger years. I hope they have my mother’s warm brown eyes, maybe they’ll even get her green thumb.. I’m due in about a month and a half, everything is going according to the birth plan and we are ready to receive this beautiful blessing into the world and our lives.

–March 18, 2019–

Adam can’t help but notice that  something is wrong.

–I love my mom very much. She is very beutiful, I really like her blueberry colored eyes and her smile makes me happy so I try to be good all the time but she only smiles sometimes. Everyday she feeds me, usually corn flakes, soup, and other stuff, but my favorite is chicken nuggets and ketchup to dip them in. My mom usually sits with me and helps me eat and I have tried to dip my chicken nuggets in ketchup on my own in the past but I made a mess each time and she got mad so I don’t do it anymore. Everyday she asks me what shirt I want to wear for school and everyday I say the green one with the red stripe. She almost never lets me wear that shirt and I always fight her over it because I know what I want to wear, why doesn’t she let me? But I always just let it go because I don’t want to make her mad. I also don’t like it when she changes my diaper or makes me get in the bath, I’d rather be on my wheelchair where I can push my buttons with my fingers and move around the house. I haven’t been on the second floor of my house since I was little and I’ve been telling my mom for years that we should get an elevator like the one at my school but she says that it’s too expensive. That’s okay though because the first floor has everything I need, but I would like to explore the upstairs. A couple months ago I needed my mom to change my diaper ASAP so I went to find her in the kitchen where she was sitting at the table with a bunch of white papers. I tried to get her attention by calling out but she ignored me. I tried tapping the diaper image on my computer a couple times, but it wasn’t working, and so I started moving the papers around and that’s when she got mad. Today she didn’t take me to school. She says we are going to my favorite park, the one with a lot of dogs. We drove for a really really long time and we didn’t go to the park I liked but that’s okay because she let me wear the green shirt with the red stripe today. I had never been to this park but there were a lot of kids playing around and one lady had a dog. When we got here she said she needed to get something from the car and she came back with my backpack. I don’t see how I need my backpack since I am not at school. As she set down my backpack on my lap she just stared at me. She usually never looks at me in the eyes so I think I did something wrong. Maybe she is still angry about me moving the papers. She then told me she was going to find the restroom at the park and she left me near the slides. It’s getting kind of dark and she isn’t back yet. I hope she found the bathroom.

Review: This short story is told from the perspectives of an expecting mother, and that child’s perspective nineteen years after his birth. The mother, Victoria, is obviously really excited about becoming a mom and has all these plans and expectations about what her child will do and what her child will look like. The first part is meant to make Victoria seem hopeful but naive. The second part is meant to not only show the perspective of Adam, Victoria’s child, but also serves to almost destroy all of the expectations that Victoria has about motherhood and her child in the first part of the story. Adam is a differently abled nineteen year old man who is non-verbal, gets around on an electric wheelchair, and depends on Victoria for most things. I definitely wanted Adam to have a personality and I hope a did a good job to not reducing him to his ableness which is what often happens to the differently abled in real life. This whole story is meant to resemble two small sections of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Firstly, the part where Victor is in the process of creating the creature and has all these expectations of greatness and beauty for his creation. The second part is meant to emulate the perspective of the creature after Victor abandoned it but I put more of a focus on the part leading up to the abandonment since Adam had already formed an attachment to his mother, something the creature in Frankenstein was unable to do with Victor. Like Victor, Victoria has all these expectations for Adam, and when they weren’t met, it caused a lot of frustration, confusion, disillusionment, and anger towards herself and Adam. The creature in Frankenstein is aware of the world around him and the way others interact with him and this is the part I wanted to focus on with Adam though, the only interaction with others is with his mother. Victoria eventually abandons Adam at the park because of the white papers, which were bills including a bunch of Adam’s medical bills. The abandonment of children and adults with disabilities is very common in society and disability studies is a contemporary issue. I chose this form of creative writing because I thought is was best to not only show the two perspectives but to also tell a thought provoking realistic story.

 

Normal and Abnormal Norms

Somehow, by wanting to produce a more perfect human being, Victor and Elizabeth are admitting to disabilities of their own. A creature impervious to pain and is virtually indestructible by medical and other violent means would be a triumph to the Frankensteins–if Adam were more conventionally attractive and had a nuero-typical consciousness.

This comment offers up an interesting perspective on disability studies and Frankenstein, as it looks at looks at disabilities in a way I had not thought about before. Instead of viewing disabilities as people who need to be constantly cared for, this comment proposes that by wanting to create the perfect life-form, the Frankensteins, and by extension Victor in Shelly’s novel,  are displaying human disabilities by not possessing the strength and finesse they hope their creature would. People who are disabled are only labeled as such due to society’s perception of “normal” and “abnormal”. If there was a society made up of life-forms similar to the creature with the same capabilities, a new perception of “normal” would be established, thus leaving human beings as representing the new threshold for “abnormal.” Overall, this comment further establishes the social construct of “normal” and “abnormal,” and how easily these perceptions can change due to lack or gain of superior abilities.

–Jose Ramirez