Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

"One of Us": Identity and Community in Contemporary Fiction

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2009), 3, (1), 35–50.

Abstract

The essay examines the short stories of Noria Jablonski, a writer who recycles disability representations, evacuating their symbolic or metaphoric narrative functions, while retaining an awareness of those functions in order to reprise, revise, and contribute to a larger tradition of disability representation. This larger tradition includes representations of performers in the American freak shows and more recent images of disability—like that of the conjoined twin—that fascinate the American imagination. Anchored in the tradition of circulating narratives about individuals with exceptional physicalities, Jablonski's collection, Human Oddities, explores both how and what stories about 'freaks' mean—especially to the individuals who, by virtue of their exceptional physicalities, identify with 'freaks.' Jablonski is one of a new group of authors who recoup disability imagery and produce important work questioning and complicating dominant understandings of disability.

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Hosey, Sara