Dr. Chris Foss
Disability and Literature
December 9th, 2021
Comparison of “Misfit” and “Apologies to my OB-GYN”
While reading through the different poems throughout our autism unit, something interesting that was found was that even though the poems,”Misfit” and “Apologies to my OB-GYN”, had different perspectives and different tones, both of the poems were talking to society about how people with autism and autism families are not as different as they seem. Both of the poems also have an undertone of love. Reading these poems was an enjoyable experience. While reading the audience gets to see the different peoples perspectives on autism. The audience was given a lot to learn from the two poems and gave the reader insight into things they might not have known as much about before reading these poems.
While analyzing all of the poems in this autism unit, two of the poems stuck out the most. The two poems being “Misfit” and “Apologies to my OB-GYN”. Both of these poems have very interesting, and very different, viewpoints from two different people dealing with autism. “Misfit” sets the point of view of the poem from a childs’ perspective of how they view themselves. Whereas with the poem, “Apologies to my OB-GYN”, is set from the viewpoint of the parent. Comparing both of these poems, and both of these perspectives, was very effective because the reader gets to see the different point of views from both a parent and a child. Comparing and contrasting the relationship between a parent and a child is an ideal situation because the reader can see how autism affects at least two members of an autistic family.
When we read the poem “Misfit” the reader can see how the autistic child views themself. This child who deals with autism, compares themselves to nature. Actions that are normal like the Sun going up and down are not labeled as weird or wrong, so why are an autistics child’s actions deemed as weird and wrong when they were just born that way. “There was the earth, turning and turning./ The stars receded, as if/ Finding no wrong with anything.” This autistic child is finding things in the world that no one finds any faults with, so why is there anything “wrong” with them and their autism? As the poem goes on, the reader can see how the autistic child gets more and more confident when talking about how they view themself and their disability. The autstic child goes from saying how they see things in nature that people don’t think there is something wrong with, to how people look at them, and then proceed to label them as a misfit, “They labeled me a Misfit/ (A Misfit turning and turning).”, to how “right can be found with anything”. The way the autistic child talks, the reader can tell that from this point of view that it is only the people in public that label this child as a misfit, not their parents. The reader can see the relationship the child has with the parents, and how the parents are not making their child feel like a misfit.
The poem “Apologies to my OB-GYN” talks about autism from the parents’ point of view. In the poem this parent does not see autism in their child as a bad thing. They sarcastically say sorry for their autistic child and for how troublesome they were. “Sorry we were such pains in your ass”. The parent is defending their autistic child, they defend how the child fought so hard to live and the nurse got annoyed by how demanding the baby was. “-sorry he took so much of your time/ being so determined to live.” The parent also goes on to talk about how that child grew up and how caring they are. How they saved moths and are sleeping soundly. Despite what that nurse and possibly other people thought, the child grew up to be a good and caring person. This poem was very interesting to read as it is only written from one parent’s viewpoint. The reader is left curious as to where the other parent is. The poem focuses around the one parent and the hospital stay with the autistic child when the kid was born. This sets the poem up to depict the parent to most likely be the mother.
While reading both of these poems the reader gets to see both of the parents’ and child’s perspectives on how autism affects a family. Both of the poems, “Misfit” and “Apologies to my OB-GYN”, show the family relationships and also have slight digs towards those in society who shun people with autism and their families. Reading both of these poems, and other ones during this unit, set up for the reader to gain a much better understanding of people with autism and their families. Additionally, there are other perspectives to be found with autism affecting people and families, but seeing autism through a parents’ and child’s point of view are two of the most important viewpoints to consider when thinking about autism. These two poems show the ideal home life that any child and parent can have in these people’s situations. Both poems show how life might be hard, but it is worth it and how there is not anything wrong with them or how the child that got complained about grew up to be a kind person. Both of the poems show life after finding out the news and adjusting but all these poems show an outsider, is love. The parent loves and defends the child from others. The autistic child only feels like a misfit from the outside world and wonders why people can’t “find the right in everything”. There is a lot to be taught from these poems. After reading the poems, the audience can walk away with a different view than they started with. How people with autism aren’t as “wrong” or different as we as a society think people with autism are. Instead, society should learn more about autism to understand the person with autism.
“I hereby declare upon my word of honor that I have neither given nor received unauthorized help on this work.” – Elizabeth Barr
Foust, Rebecca. “Apologies to My OB-GYN.” Fishouse, 28 June 2018, http://www.fishousepoems.org/apologies-to-my-ob-gyn/. Mukhopadhyay, Tito Rajarshi. “Five Poems.” Disability Studies Quarterly, https://dsq-sds.org/article/view/1192/1256.