From Impossible Angles Towards Strategic Ones: Narratives of Death, Life, and Disability in La Muerte me Da and El Huesped The glamour of single-handedly overcoming adversity, sidestepping obstacles, or defying the odds makes for great mystery or adventure fiction, but fails to do justice (poetic or otherwise) to lives that are both physically and conceptually "marked" by more complex challenges. From a theoretical view, a similar desire to escape or maintain the perceived "dividing line" between fact and fiction, nature and nurture, mind and body, is confronted by a diverse set of human experiences, all of which have come to be defined, and continue to define themselves, along both sides of such a divide. Disability, typically viewed as an "emerging" branch of literary and cultural critique, is perhaps the most pervasive. Hidden under the covert language of the "grotesque", "monstrous", "doppelgänger", "freak", "eccentric" or "queer", disability has historically represented something other than itself. Two texts that attest to both the real and imagined possibilities of resignification and new modes of articulation surrounding disability are La muerte me da (2007) by Cristina Rivera Garza and El huésped (2006) by Guadalupe Nettel. From different points of departure, both texts offer a narrative approximation towards the disabled mind, body, and perceptual experience. In ways that are both similar and different, these narratives question one's perceived access to that which is otherwise understood to be the physically and conceptually "inaccessible" or "illegible" space of disability. Such approximations towards, and articulations of, the disability experience are processes that move, largely unnoticed, both within and beyond texts. As this construct continues to transform itself from both within and outside itself, disability acquires intellectual and practical value while requiring the "experts" in fields beyond the narrow scope of medicine, education, and rehabilitation to (re)consider their own approaches to, and apprehensions of, disability in order to redefine what or who is accessible or viable for literary and cultural debate.
- Desde ángulos imposibles hacia ángulos estratégicos: narrativas de la muerte, la vida y la discapacidad en La muerte me da y El huésped
- From impossible angles towards strategic ones: narratives of death, life, and disability in La muerte me da and El huésped
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Statement of Responsibility
by Rachel Renee Newland