The article “Redefining Normal: A Critical Analysis of (Dis)ability in Young Literature” tells the story of three individuals with various disabilities and the way in which they cope.  In the story of “Marcelo in the Real World”, the main character Marcelo is a high school student diagnosed with Autism.  He is an intelligent person but finds it difficult to participate in idle conversation or to make eye contact with others.  His father, Arturo, seems embarrassed and annoyed by his flaws and thinks it would be best to put Marcelo to work in his law firm.  Although some of the people are cruel to Marcello, he finds a friend in Jasmine who works in the mailroom.  She is one of the few people in his life that treats him as ‘normal’.  His new friendship gives him a new found self-confidence as he learns to trust others.

In the book “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” the main character is a boy named Junior, also known as Arnold, was born with brain damage and was not expected to survive surgery at six months old, but he did.  Growing up on the Reservation, the community viewed Junior as being “slow” and stupid.  He had only one friend, a best friend, named Rowdy who looked out for him.  As a teenager he announced he wanted to attend Reardon High School which was primarily white and over twenty miles from his home.  It took Junior a long time to adjust since he didn’t fit in either place because the Reservation viewed him as a traitor and the people in Reardon didn’t accept him.  Over time, Junior made friends and learned to stand up for himself.  He gained the respect of his peers and over time he gained self-confidence.

In both stories we see the similarities between these two boys and their individual struggles.  From this we learn that having a disability does not define who you are and does not limit you.  All people, whether faced with a disability or not, are challenged by critics throughout their lives and the true test is to believe in yourself.

Ashley Baruch


2 Comments so far

  1.    Asim Shariff on October 6, 2016 12:44 am

    I agree with you that both of these articles show how these individuals with disabilities are able to overcome the challenges that they are faced with. The article talked about how the characters viewed their disability as weakness at first, but they later came to accept it. Alexie also shows how an individual with a disability is able to achieve his goals.

  2.    Naomi Bracho on October 6, 2016 3:18 am

    I think you made a good point in the last paragraph. As the author of the article explained, all of the characters in the analyzed novels were able to recognize that they are not identified by what disability they have. Additionally, neither of them are limited by their conditions including Arnold/Junior.

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