Roya's reading responses

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Roya's reading responses

Diaz and Diagnosis Zombie

April 6th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

The articles Junot Dia’s Counterline that depicts Diaz’s life and Diagnosis Zombie: The Science behind the Undead Apocalypse that explores the assertions of Schlozman bear resemblance to each other in different fronts. To begin, the two articles give an insight to the thoughts of two writers and their private lives. To illustrate, Diaz takes the reader through the hard way that he got stories for his projects. The assertion, ‘It took forever to get the fucking stories I needed to do this project, ‘’ Diaz says (Kachka 1).He then explains that one of the titles of his narratives started at Rutgers. In the light of his personal life, Diaz confesses that he is unfaithful in matters of love. For example, he says the he has oftentimes cheated on his many lovers. The truism of this affirmation is shown in the statement about him, ‘He admits to cheating on about half of all his girlfriends (Kachka 1). In addition, the article tells about his residence, which is Harlem but spending almost half his time in teaching in Cambridge. Indeed, according to the piece of writing, his areas of teaching range from anything that include ‘bildungsroman of color,’ studies relating to media and post-apocalyptic fictional works.

In the perspective of personal life, Schlozmanis said to have teamed collaborated with Mayim Bialik. Furthermore, the author’s family life is also brought into focus in a way. For example, he says, ‘My wife, in 2008, was diagnosed with breast cancer’ (Gannon 1).Fortunately, he then announces that she recovered from the sickness. In the same vein, Schlozman expresses how his wife’s condition affected him; hence, showing their private family relationships. For a case, he says, ‘But at the time, I couldn’t sleep.” The admission in this background seems by far to demonstrate the truth that the two had a close relation; thus, his inability to sleep in the wake of his wife sick health. As such, the two articles are related in the way they present the thoughts of the two writers and their personal lives.

Second, the two items present an impression of the characterization of the artistic works of the two involved writers. In actuality, Diaz as ideas concerning his teaching areas gets refracted through the depiction of the various ids of lost boy characters in his creative works. In the same way in the field of telenovela also helps create inspirational characters. In the validation of the claim, he observes that in the telenovela, the act of chasing either a girl or a boy allows human beings to endure anything that ranges from genocide to slavery (Kachka 2). Similarly, Schlozman in Diagnosis Zombie: the Science behind the Undead Apocalypse opines that there is the need to diagnose the noticeable neurological problems of the zombies. Consequently, he underscores the necessity for such act in his statement, ‘Although the symptoms are fictional, they can be quite useful teaching tools for students’ (Gannon par 13). In his further explanation of the element of characterization of the zombies, Schlozman notes that the first thing that is noticed in the creatures is a shuffle way of walking, hardship movement, unsteadiness, and difficulty with realizing where the body is in correct space.
Works Cited
Gannon, Megan. “Diagnosis Zombie: The Science behind the Undead Apocalypse.” Livescience 8 Aug. 2013: Print.
Kachka, Boris. “Junot Dias’s Counterlife.” Report Information from ProQuest .27 Aug. 2012: 1- 3. Print


Research Idea

March 28th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Throughout our readings I was most interested with the topic of stigma. It is appealing to me because I think so many cultures have this in common. We always feel that who ever has something that we can’t relate to we immediately think they are abnormal. Whether it is a disease, race, religion and many more. I can relate to stigma with some of the readings we have done like Death before Dying by Isaak Niehaus , HIV Stigma and AIDS by Angelo Alonzo, Wit, And the Band Played and Angles in America. Most of the readings we have done all relate to stigma. I can also relate to it because although it is a bad thing but I do feel like when someone is different I create a space between me and that person and I would not know how to deal with them the right way.


American Splendor and Marbles

March 28th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Mental illnesses affect the mind, and there may be instances of the poor impulse coordination in the involved individuals that hampers their ability to speak their mind well. Individuals in this category are, therefore, handled in a more detailed manner in order to ensure that they do not strain more than their abilities can conceive. Graphic novels in this regard are very critical in exploring the issues related to mental illnesses. This is because they encompass the visual aspect in which the mentally unstable person can come to terms with. This is brought to fore by the fact that there are particular moments in the “American Splendor” and “The Marbles” that work in a detailed way to incorporate the aspect of graphical images as a prelude to illustrating their significance to people with mental illnesses.

Paul Giamatti plays the life of Pekar, who is seen to lose his voice as a result of the disease affecting his vocal cords. The aspect of graphics in this particular edition is quite evident when he is seen being left by his treasured second wife, then subsequently falling in an unprecedented depression. Joy Barbara comes to picture as his third wife, and the neurotic match of Pekar is now evident. The novel, like comic, is quick to detail the experiences of the couple as they go along in dealing with the cancer of Pekar. This shows the power of graphics in that everything around Pekar is made to make the readers and the target audiences remain in a position to create mental pictures in a bid to comprehend the challenges that revolve around people affected by mental illnesses. It is, therefore, graphic and metaphorical, and the same is the case with Marbles where Forney is seen with a bipolar disorder. The aspects of the Yoga classes in a bid to comprehend this are graphically well illustrated. Therefore, graphic novels are quite helpful in the exploration of the issues concerning mental illnesses.

El Refaie has used a number of terms in her comic autobiography as well as several works to illustrate a number of concepts. Some of the key words in which she uses include semiotics, narrative as well as literary theory, psychology and histories concerning the art. El Refaie has consistently managed to show that the traditions, as well as the formal features of the comics, indeed provided brand new possibilities for the purpose of an autobiographical storytelling. Marbles depict a bipolar disorder affected individual. El and her concepts are seen at work here in that semiotics are quite evident. Semiotics entails the study of signs and symbols, their use as well as the interpretation. Forney has a bipolar disorder, and the state of her mind tends to swing up in entirely unexpected ways to go to extreme ends.

She can give weird signs like swing on a sofa as well as tend to behave as if she is in bed. Narrative features in addition to literary techniques include symbolic representation of things. Forney is forced to ask herself what brought her to her predicament. Furthermore, she grapples with the prospect as to whether this makes him lesser of an artist like others who do not have a disorder, or whether the disorder imparts additional traits that may be crucial to her art. El Refaie seems to support this perspective in her works. Psychologically, El tries to suggest that some thoughts may brush through in a voluntary manner, while there is the prospect of having others pass about in an involuntary manner; as a result of mood swings due to mental instability.

In American Splendor, 2003, Harvey Parker brings to the fore some unique gifts that may be viewed as advantageous when it comes to the aspect of this mental illness. As the film begins, there is the display of the behavior associated with the excessive mental disorder. His dysthymia in the film is expressed through the persistent agitation as well as tips concerning negativity. In the middle of the movie, he is seen kicking and throwing objects and seeing life through a pessimistic lens. Harvey has come out as a person whose social skills are few and not enough friendly when viewed in line with the other people. In this regard, he has managed to sell his comic books to a full extent and drawn upon a success. Therefore, his mental disorder has been like a gift in that he has capitalized on to advances his art, when in reality he sees it as a liability, which is not entirely right. As a result, as the film comes to an end, he appears on the David Letterman show.


Warm Bodies

March 26th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

The movie Warm Bodies presents a paradigm shift in the technological and social representations of plagues, viral infections and the zombie. Since the advent of the zombie, there has been a common discourse in their depiction resulting in a similar set of tropes. The general approach in zombie movies is incorporating aspects of panic, despair, lifelessness, dissolution of socioeconomic structures and a return to normality once a cure is found or the disease has completed its course. The film provides a novel and contrasting account to the normal setting of zombie movies. In addition, the movie suggests a completely new plan in the creation of zombie films in its evolved dramatization of the pop culture. The film is divergent in its technological approach using the central character, R, as the narrator. Zombies in Warm Bodies break away from the technical and narrative set of the traditional undead representation.

From a narrative perspective, unlike previous media, zombies in the film are alive and conscious. The central character is aware of his thoughts, reflects, and feels remorse whenever he kills a human being. The character converses on his thoughts identifying that he does not recall his name. Traditional zombies as according to Steve are sanctioned to acts of violence because of the rabid implications of viral infections (Steve 14).R does not show any of these rabid behaviors rather indentifies with his feelings. He falls in love with Julie and puts effort in ascertaining her survival. Julie in turn feels more secure and protected in the care of R. This is because of the connection the two shares. The relationship between R and Julie is another narrative break away. Textual articulations of zombie movies simulate anxiety in response to interconnectedness between humans and zombies (Boluk and Lenz 127). Warm Bodies gives an unusual narration where a human and a zombie establish a relationship.

From a technical perspective, Warm Bodies employs a zombie as the central aspect of the narration. The central character, R, is the narrator in the movie conversing on the events through his eyes. According to Boluk and Lenz, the infection does not sit on the edges of the narration, but acts as the central stage of zombie movies (Boluk and Lenz 130). Another technical break away from the normal trope is the depiction of extremely fast, smart, and strong zombies. A group of zombies hunting R and Julie are in an advanced stage of the viral infection that has amplified their physiological capabilities. Viral infections in traditional sets result in the mitigation or complete erosion of cognitive and muscular capabilities. Zombies in the film are able to communicate and form casual relationships. This is equally another technical innovation employed in Warm Bodies.

Depictions in the film are extraordinarily outside the aesthetic and narrative set of the popular zombie movie. The novel approach adds on the intriguing and captivating value in the narration that the audience familiarizes with. R is conscious, aware of his thoughts, feels remorse for killing humans, can communicate, and establishes a relationship with Julie. Apart from the viral infection that has led to a fade in their physical appearance and need to eat human brains, zombies in the movie are practically human. In general, Warm Bodies gives a lovely touch and color to a somewhat undead stage in the movie industry.

Boluk, Stephanie, and Wylie Lenz. Infection, Media and Capitalism: From Early modern Plagues to Postmodern Zombies. The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies. 10. 2. 2011. 126-152. Print.

Steve, Pokomowski. Insecure Lives: Zombies, Global Health, and the Totalitarianism of Generalization. Report Information from ProQuest. 2015.1-16. Print.


American Splendor

March 26th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

American Splendor is a film that revolves around the life of one Pekar, played by Paul Giamitti, who loses his voice as a result of a stress related problem affecting his vocal chords. This happens shortly after he is left by his second wife and as a result, he goes through a period of depression. As the film goes by, we see the life of Pekar changing. He meets his third wife Joyce Barbara, who certain scholars have called his neurotic match (American Splendor). Later on, he is diagnosed with cancer and so, the couple decides that the only way that they are going to get through this together is if they write a graphic novel, which they eventually call ‘Our Cancer Year.’ This novel details the experiences of the couple as they deal with Pekar’s cancer (American Splendor). There are so many elements to be celebrated in the comics, other than the depression that Pekar is going through (American Splendor). This comic brings into perspective elements such as humor and the day to day relationships of human beings (American Splendor). The comic is taken to an entirely new level by its outstanding ability to mix both documentary and drama into a single fold. As a matter of fact, a substantial amount of film critics have argued that a good part of the film is dramatic, most especially when it comes to how skillfully Giamitti has brought out Pekar (American Splendor).

In a 2003 article entitled ‘Finally its Chic to have the Blues: Film Based on Life of Harvey Pekar Sparks New Interest in Mental Health,’ by Robert Fulford, I am brought to the attention that over the years, there is a certain group of people with mental health issues that have been celebrated through comics, while others have been downplayed. I am mostly surprised when Fulford claims that some of the most celebrated mental ailments in the world of comics include people suffering from schizophrenia, as well as the psychopaths. On the other hand, the stories of people suffering from depression continue to remain untold. All along, I have been thinking that depression has been put at the forefront. However, it is now obvious that even though it has been put at the forefront, its story remains untold in the world of art. This could go a long way in explaining why a long list of works done by Harvey Pekar, mostly touched on the plight of people suffering from depression.

I find comics to be true on so many levels. They have an element of humor that is hard to come across in other genres of art. The reason why I take comics to be true is that they look at each and every one of us as superheroes. Being superheroes, we have been subjected to daily struggles against villains that are in one way or the other perverted. Each one of us holds within himself secret powers that are not brought to the attention of the people surrounding us. Additionally, I believe that everyone holds a secret identity as seen in Alison Bechdel’s ‘Fun Home,’ yet another comic that is all about identity, and how some of us are forced to hide our true identities because other people might not be approving of them (Refaie 49).

My surprised reaction to the theme of mental illnesses and most precisely depression in comics was mostly fuelled by the comments made by Fulford in his article. I do not understand why depressives have not been given a chance in art and yet their problems are quite pronounced. According to Fulford, the reason why the plight of the depressives has not been told to the world through art is that this is a group of people that lacks a worldwide mutual help organization. Fulford goes further ahead to offer a sarcastic comment about the lack of a worldwide mutual help organization for the depressives, when he states that they have been denied the chance to have a mutual help organization solely because they do not have the energy that other mental patients have of attending meetings (Fulford 1). I was not surprised, however, when Fulford (1) pointed out the observation that throughout the world, depressives are looked at as world losers. This is seen clearly through the film ‘American Splendor,’ when Pekar is looked at by his second wife as a loser simply because he is living a plebian lifestyle.

As mentioned earlier on, through the American Splendor, and other comics by Pekar, I have been able to learn that comics and real life are two aspects that go hand in hand. In simple terms fact and fiction correlate within a similar frame. For instance, in our day to day life, we see, and those of us that have not seen, we hear of Harvey Pekar. The stories that we are told of Harvey Pekar go hand in hand with those of the Pekar we see in ‘American Splendor.’ Therefore, it is safe to conclude that our personalities are the center of our failures and successes.

American Splendor. “American Splendor”. N.p., 2010. Web. 26 Mar. 2015.

Fulford, Robert. “Finally, It’s Chic to Have the Blues: Film Based on Life of Harvey Pekar Sparks NewInterest in Mental Health — by Robert Fulford.” Robert Fulford, Canadian Journalist. N.p., 2003. Web. 26 Mar. 2015.

Refaie, Elisabeth E. Autobiographical Comics: Life Writing in Pictures. Mississippi : University Press of Mississippi, n.d. Print.




February 28th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Ellen Forney’s Marbles explores the link between being bipolar, mood disorders, and creativity. The book is the journey that the author has been going through after the diagnosis that she is bipolar. More importantly she acknowledges that she is bipolar, and that is her personality intertwined with her creativity. She notes that she has to learn how to accept herself the way she is because nothing will change. In her book, she presents her struggles with accepting the diagnosis, her fears of revealing it, available treatments and medications, and the effect that the diagnosis has on her creativity as an artist. In addition, she has included experiences of her fellow artists who suffer from the same condition. This paper shows an analysis of the author’s work, and the link between bipolar conditions and creativity as presented in the book.
In the book, Forney notes that the most important thing a bipolar needs to realize is that it is their personality. No treatment ends the condition (Forney). The author struggled in the beginning because she had not realized the same. Later, she found out that she could only try to find the balance with her medication and treatment. However, it is not easy. She found that keeping journals helped her keep up with her mind because it is hard to keep up with it yet, it is unstable. The journals helped the author in composing the book. While giving descriptions of situations or events, the imagery aspect would appear in the author’s mind. She notes she was afraid she would lose her sensibility but that day never came. Unlike popular perception, bipolar people do not lose their mind (Gal).
Forney recounts the experiences of fellow artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Sylvia Path, who suffered mood disorders (Forney). Despite the disorders they continued being creative. In fact, they stress the fact that being bipolar does not affect creativity negatively. There are instances when the artists became very creative. The trick in remaining creative is balancing the medications and treatments. In addition, having an open mind about the condition and accepting it as their personality helped in remaining creative.
Forney notes that therapy plays a crucial role in stabilizing one’s mind. She was opposed to the idea but has since embraced it fully. She affirms that talking to the therapist is refreshing because the subject is the patient. It is comforting to know that the therapists will only listen to you without bringing on his or her problems. The patient takes center stage during the therapy sessions. It becomes refreshing and clears one’s mind. Having a clear mind about issues prevents substance abuse and irrational tendencies. As a result, the bipolar artists can focus on their work. Their creativity levels are high because they are not clogged up with issues in their minds (Gal).
In conclusion, Ellen Forney’s Marbles is proof that bipolar artists do not lose their creativity. Through her experiences, and the experiences of other artists, it is evident that they can find a balance that allows them to advance their creativity. Besides, her book is filled with artwork that she created while writing the book. Opening up about her problem has been of great help to people suffering from the same condition.
Forney, Ellen. Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me : a Graphic Memoir. New
York: Gotham Books, 2012. Print.
Gal, Amy. Ellen Forney: Losing One’s Marbles. Lambda Literary. Dec 2012. Web. Feb 2015.


Angels in America & AIDS and its Metaphors

February 21st, 2015 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

AIDS epidemic has been a problem in most parts of the world for many years. It is against this background that several artistic works revolve around the problem of this curse. Such works include the article AIDS and its Metaphors by Susan Sontag and the movie Angels in America. The movie explores the issues of AIDS, religion, sexuality, angels, drugs and whether the deliverance of man is achievable. The story revolves around a group of people who, at first sight, have nothing to do with each other, but are all connected to their beliefs, experiences, and feelings. In the same manner, the article depicts various symbols of AIDS in the society. In summary, the two items show how different societal meanings of the virus lead to mistreatment of those affected. This essay describes some things common in the presentation of the disease. Therefore, it is arguable that AIDS and its Metaphors and Angels in America elaborate that suffering from AIDS is shaped with stigmatization and phobia in the society

Both items give an insight into how the illness is characterized by stigmatization. Inherently, both show how individuals who suffer from the sickness are subjected to discrimination. For example in the article AIDS and its Metaphors, those who have the disease are stigmatized in many areas including work stations, some are fired for being victims of this epidemic (Sontag, 1989, 153). Similarly in the movie Angels in America, the abandonment of the virus infected, Prior Walter by his lover Louis Ironson can be understood as a stigma. Essentially, Ironson abandons Walter because he finds it hard to relate with him and help him in his present condition. Therefore, the truth lies in the argument that AIDS lead to stigmatization of the infected persons.

In addition, both the article and the movie agree that AIDS can lead to self-identity. For example, in the article, the virus is described as being able to reveal self-identities of the infected as they face harassment and persecution (Sontag, 1989, 153). Along the same line of argument, Angels in America illustrate self-realization in characters such as Prior Walter and Roy. For instance, Walter realizes he is a love loner after his lover abandons him as his sickness develops. In the same way, Roy discovers that he is an abandoned man following the disclosure that he has the virus. As such, he only has ghosts to give him company. It is elaborated that AIDS can lead to self- identity of the infected people as they make interactions with others.

It is noted that AIDS brings about both stigmatization and self-identity in the society. Especially, individuals affected by the pandemic are subjected to various forms of stigmatization. For example, some people are dismissed from their work places for the reason that they have the virus. In terms of revelation of identities, both the article and the film show that persons who are suffering from AIDS can discover their identities as they interact with other members of the society. Innately, such individuals get to discover themselves as the abandoned, harassed and stigmatized victims of their health conditions. The two items affirm the argument that AIDS victims are subjected to both stigmatization and self-discovery in the society.

“Angels in America Part 1 by Tony Kushner.” YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2015

Sontag, S. “AIDS and Its Metaphors.” (1989): Print.


Death Before Dying and Angels in America

February 14th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

In the book, Angels in America author Tony Kushner portrays a modern society that struggles to come to terms with the reality of HIV-Aids in its midst. The reactions that attend to the scourge reveal the social, moral, and personal complexities that hinder the pursuit of effective strategies for combating the disease. The story brings out the tangled relationship involving Louis Ironson and Prior Walter a gay couple, and a straight couple of Joe Pitt and Harper (Kushner 4). Roy Cohn, a strong-willed lawyer with a deep-seated aversion for gay relationship, is another important character that completes the story. The relationship between Louis and Prior weakens and disintegrates following Prior’s revelation that he had contracted HIV. Later in the story a romantic triangle evolves involving Joe and Prior, which eventually compromises the friendship between Joe and Roy following the latter’s impatience with gay people.
Roy’s life begins takes a sharp negative turn when he wakes up to the fact that he is also suffering from the virus. He also faces tough moments following the revelation he manipulated the legal system leading to the execution of Ethel Rosenberg. In the coming sections of the story, Rosenberg appears in the form of an angel to witness Roy’s gradual deterioration and eventual demise. Prior’s condition worsens although he survives and vows to live on despite his acknowledgment of the heavy toll that the virus has taken on human life. At many points, Angels in America mirrors the unsettling realities of the Aids pandemic in South Africa as portrayed in the article, ‘Death before Dying’ by Niehaus (845). Both the books and the articles provide valuable illustrations of the societal ineptitude that directly or indirectly escalates the pandemic.
In ‘Death before Dying,’ Niehaus exposes the gravity of HIV in Impalahoek village in the South African Lowveld. The author begins with the affliction of one of the victims, George Bila. After contracting the virus, Bila’s health drastically declines to levels that require specialized attention although he finds none (Niehaus 846). His immediate family and the people around him initially treat his case as a consequence of witchcraft leading to further escalation of his physical drain. At some point, he incurs utter neglect and mistreatment of those who should have taken care of him. Bila’s case is significantly similar to Prior’s suffering. He also incurs the displeasure of those around him including his gay partner, Louis. In both cases, the two Aids patients are treated with fear and stigma. It only takes the understanding of people such as Bila’s sister and Belize to break from the circle of fear and attend to the needy patients.
The worlds of Bila and Prior only reach the supreme moment of awakening to the realization that HIV is not a preserve of any demographic category of people. For example, Roy had imagined that the virus could only affect homosexuals until he was diagnosed with the same. The ironic twist of the matter is that he eventually dies of the virus whereas the homosexual victim, Prior, survives. To some degree, the images of Judaism and other religions intersect with those of homosexuality. For example Joe Pitt is initially portrayed as a devoted Mormon, but eventually compromises his religious standing in the pursuit of his gay relationship with Prior. Judaism represents the suffering of the AIDS people as a direct consequence of their sinful nature. In this portrayal, homosexuality is represented as a sin punishable by death and suffering.

Kushner, Tony. Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1993.

Niehaus, Isak. Death before Dying: Understanding AIDS Stigma in the South African Lowveld. Journal of Southern African Studies, 33 (4) pp. 845 – 860.


To live with Cancer…Summary

February 7th, 2015 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

American writer, stand-up comic and radio contributor Tig Notaro is one of the few famous figures who openly announces “I have cancer”. She does it with courage and humor. Being a comedian who used to bring only the feelings of joy and happiness to her audience, Notaro does not want it to change even by bringing such sad news. She talks about it with witty humor and jokes trying to make people laugh and not feel sympathetic towards her and other diagnosed with this hard to deal with disease. This courageous woman talks not only about the general thing, but also about many peculiar issues connected with it, many specific troubles people with cancer have to deal with every day, and most importantly, she speaks about it all in a comedic way. It shows how much she does not want to be sympathized with. We all can guess that she is broken inside but with the help of comedy and humor she tries to fight the feeling of depression and see some light in life. She speaks about her other tragedies, except the breast cancer, – her mother passed away and she suffered a recent break up. All of that happened for a very short period of time and unlike others in a similar situation, she copes with it in a very special way – being sarcastic and adding humor to it. The audience tries to laugh at every joke of hers speaking about her nearing death, however, every now and then someone has a sad expression and that is when she manages to make another joke out of it. The people’s reactions are something that helps her be stronger and keep on living as a normal healthy person. At the same time with her special ways to deal with the deadly disease she brings the theme of dying closer to people and make them treat it in a bit different way, the way that is more peaceful and accepting.

The theme of death is a new trend in modern English literature writers adopted to express their writing skills. Patty Campbell talks about this trend more widely in YA Lit and the Deathly Fellows. According to her, reading about death makes all people feel much closer to it although we all know it is inevitable. The first writer who was the beginner of the death trend in English literature was Alice Sebold issuing the novel “The lovely Bones” in which she speaks about a murdered teen who speaks from heaven. The novel was a kind of a push for other writers to start writing about death. Patty speaks a lot about the trend and wonders why there are so many novels talking about murders, suicides, deadly diseases and so on nowadays. She supposes that probably teens are so bored of their safe lives that they are just hungry for something extreme. The suggestion seems reasonable, as many young people do not mind reading about death because most of them feel like they are so far away from it and like they are going to live forever.

While there are many readings nowadays that talk about death in a way that is not too deep, serious or touching, there are as well very worthy works that depict people struggling with deadly diseases and trying to make the best of the short time given to them on earth. The article “Optimism can help, hinder patients” by Julie Deardorff talks about a woman named Shelly Contin Hubbs diagnosed with the last stage of the breast cancer. The woman tells how optimism and positive thinking help her to beat the disease. And when we think about the method in a deeper way, we will figure it really works. Our mental state and mood directly influences our physical health. Positive thinking sends some impulses to our body organs and helps them resist illnesses and bad states. If we persuade ourselves that we are healthy we can mislead the organism and make it fight any disease. That is why optimism and positive thinking have become part of the cancer culture and play a huge role in patients’ struggle to recovery. Who knows, maybe this technique will help Tig Notaro defeat the cancer as seems like she is already practicing it.

Another problem people diagnosed with cancer have to deal with is the stereotyped opinion of those surrounding them. Jacqueline Vanhoutte in her article “Cancer and the Common Woman in Margaret Edson’s Wit” talks about her own experience of cancer fighting and gives her response to the play “Wit” by M. Edson. She starts with the issue of stereotypes. Thus, for example, people hearing a woman has a cancer immediately assume it is a breast cancer just because she is a woman, and if cancer strikes someone who smokes, they immediately think it is lungs cancer. In case with Jacqueline herself, who has parotid cancer (very rare with no risk factors) she speaks of people who defined her disease in such a way that would distance them from it. People think that cancer happens only to those who have done something wrong in such a way thinking they are safe from it. However, they are wrong as this disease can strike anyone without any underlying reasons for it. In her article Jacqueline also expresses her disappointment with the play “Wit”. She expected it to help her somehow; instead she found that the play showed a cancer as a tragedy and humiliation for those having it and comfort for those who are healthy. “The cancer journals” by Audre Lorde as well as the play “Wit” talk about different ways women deal with cancer. According to Lorde, most women choose to be silent about their problem, but she insists on them to voice it in order to help many other women out there to deal with the mental issues connected with the disease. She herself suffering from breast cancer gives the readers some journal entries that are of great value for those women seeking support and strength to live. In her entries Lorde expresses her gratitude to have the chance to live every day feeling happy to open up her eyes to every new morning.

Cancer is not a lifetime holiday; it is one of the most dreadful tragedies that can happen to anyone any time. No one can predict it and no one can hide from it. We can all live as healthy lives as possible but we can never secure ourselves from it. Yet, there are already many people all over the world struggling with the disease right now each in their own ways. Someone, like Tig Notaro, chooses to humor it away with her comedic performances and sarcastic treatment; others, like Shelly Contin Hubbs, fight the disease with positive thinking and optimism; and some, like Audre Lorde, survive by voicing their problems and expressing their gratitude for still being living. Any struggle is a fight and to choose the right way gives a chance for the victory.

Vanhoutte, Jaqueline. “Cancer and the Common Woman in Margaret Edson’s W;T.” Comparative Drama (2002): 391-410. Web. Jan. 2015.

Lorde, Audre. The Cancer Journals. Web.

Deardorff, Julie. “Optimism Can Help, Hinder Patients.” Chicago Tribune. N.p., 23 Sept. 2010. Web. 31 Jan. 2015. <>.

Campbell, Patty. “YA Lit and the Deathly Fellows.” N.p., June 2008. Web. Jan. 2015.



And the Band Played On

February 7th, 2015 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

The movie “And the Band Played On” starts off with showing the Ebola fever in Africa in a village and how all the people in the village died because of that disease. The disease luckily did not spread out to other countries. The doctor that was sent to Africa was Don Francis that later on is involved in finding out the epidemic which was AIDS. The movie portrays a lot of images and to me one of the most important images was that the doctors were acting as businessmen instead of doctors trying to help stop the epidemic. Don Francis shows a lot of persuasion throughout the whole movie in trying to help people live. He was very determined to figure out what this disease was caused from. He was not supported by the other doctors, media and gays around him. Since this disease was linked to gays having sexual connections with each other and was later transfused through blood to other patients from donors carrying the disease AIDS. It was a huge struggle to convince people this epidemic was from bathhouses since at that that time people were fighting for gay rights. I think Ebola fever relates to the epidemic of AIDS because with the Ebola fever the people of the town all died and with AIDS we see the number of deaths increasing rapidly during the movie. They also show another struggle in the movie where they don’t have enough money to make their research to find out the cause of the disease. Don Francis and doctor Gallo are working with a team of doctors in France but they have a conflict where Doctor Gallo wants all the credit for figuring out the disease. Don Francis is surprised that Doctor Gallo was only thinking of getting the credit instead of working as a team with the doctors in France and giving each team and person equal credit.

In “Contagion and the Necessary Accident” in the epidemic of AIDS media attention increased so much. Both the movie and these narratives talk about the process that begins with a disease’s appearance, its emergence and ends with it’s enclosure. The narratives try to focus on the sensation because they try to direct the attention to the effects of the contagion on the bodies. The 2006 film “Fatal Contact: Bird flu in America” talks about the avian flu that killed millions of people. The film appears to close on a positive note of a family in a healing process. In “The Hot Zone” the film links the disease in a racist way by linking it with African and other (non-white) bodies and animals. The “Outbreak” along with “The Hot Zone” both are very critical films that talk about AIDS era outbreak they offer parts in the film that are very realistic and need a lot of attention.

In “STIGMA, HIV AND AIDS: AN EXPLORATION AND ELABORATION OF A STIGMA TRAJECTORY” the goal in this narrative was to focus on social, psychological, cultural and biophysical dimensions of HIV/AIDS. Most narratives have not discussed what the experience is from experiencing that kind of stigma. Goffman further suggests that no matter how small or bad off a particular stigmatized group is, they are generally given some kind of public presentation and an “intellectually worked-up version of their point of view is thus available to most stigmatized persons”. At its most basic level stigma from Goffman’s perspective, is a powerful social label that changes the way individuals view themselves and are viewed as persons. This stigma creates stereotypical thinking and creating boundaries between normal people and people with this stigma. This causes a big change in the patients personality mentally they feel they are different then the rest of the society. While some people might feel they are scared of them and don’t want to get near them while some feel too sympathetic for them. These patients go through discrimination, isolation and rejection.

Albertini, Bill. “Contagion and the Necessary Accident.” N.p., 23 Oct. 2009. Web. 07 Feb. 2015.

Alonzo, Angelo A., and Nancy R. Reynolds. “STIGMA, HIV AND AIDS: AN EXPLORATION AND ELABORATION OF A STIGMA TRAJECTORY.” N.p., 1995. Web. 07 Feb. 2015.

And the Band Played on. Dir. Roger Spottiswoode. 1993.