Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Life Writing, Resistance, and the Politics of Representation: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Eli Clare's "Learning to Speak"

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2012), 6, (1), 85–95.

Abstract

Using critical discourse analysis the article examines the ways in which one disabled writer, Eli Clare, uses the life-writing genre to bring his readers' attention to hegemonic representations of the disabled body as inferior, abnormal, and weak. The article argues that in the few lines of the poem "Learning to Speak" Clare resists such models of disability, reimagines the discursive contexts of normativity, and creates an alternative representation of the disabled body. He recreates boundaries of normalcy. The work of rewriting his body is a complex journey through and in/between difference and representation, and exemplifies the political and transformative potential of the genre.

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Cowley, Danielle