Class started with Dr. Foss reminding us that our Major Paper/Project Proposal is due November 4th. From here, we heard about Dr. Foss and other professors’ endeavors to start a disability studies minor. Next semester there will be an Introduction to Disability Studies (IDIS 300N) course on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 0900. Interestingly enough, 8-12 different professors will donate their time to teach this course, focusing on the state of disability studies and disabilities in the states. After this exciting information was shared with the class, we discussed Good Kings Bad Kings.
In small groups, while discussing Good Kings Bad Kings, we focused on the bond between Jimmie and Yessi. How Jimmie risked his career to take Yessi out and their connection since both of their mothers died from cancer. At this concert that Jimmie took her to, Yessi felt like an actual human being since Jimmie treated her well and did not view her as an object. ILLC treated the kids inhumanely, grouping them together as disabled, forcing dependence onto disabled people. Tristan also pointed out the isolation and exclusiveness that these kids face as they stand out because of their disability. These kids need help, and we need to help, but perhaps they do not need this type of assistance that ILLC is providing. We moved on to discuss privatization and the lack of consent that was taken from the kids. ILLC manufactures their consent and acts as a predator, goes after these kids, and creates an idealized view of the system. There was also a discussion of the violations of their bodies. Acting as more of a prison than a place for betterment, ILLC’s number of assaults and lack of rules to protect the kids creates a feeling of being forced, and Jimmie represents a safe space for assault in this reading.
Further discussing Good Kings Bad Kings in large group, Dr. Foss started off by bringing up the connection of ILLC and profiting off of the lives of disabled people since they will be pushed out of the workforce. To bring out the grander scheme of ILLC, Lisa mentioned how ILLC is profiting off the kids and sharing this profit with the hospital, and this is how the cycle continues. Transitioning into a different aspect of money schemes at ILLC, Dr. Foss brought up how the facility is a money pit. There is a lack of funding, resulting in difficult living situations for the residents. However, Dr. Foss also talked about how this lack of funding gives power to the staff. For instance, Mia will never get a powered wheelchair, but this allows the staff to keep track of the residents and prevent them from being mobile. Melissa connected this control to how the staff forces a self-fulfilling prophecy on the residents of ILLC through its restrictive environment. Moving to Michelle’s role and how the audience unconsciously views her as perpetrating evil, Dr. Foss talked about Michelle’s interest in Joanne’s statistics about the hospitalizations and tests. Simply put, Michelle is profiting off of the dire conditions of the residents; Brie shared input that despite not knowing about the environment, Michelle is still sending people to ILLC. However, Tabitha posed the question that while Michelle is good at her job, is she really doing good with her job?
Continuing in large group, the class began discussing Sylvia Plath’s “Tulips.” Kelly started us off by pondering on the symbolism of the tulips. This was a concept that the class as a whole could not come to an agreement on. However, that did not stop discussion. As the speaker is drugged, in and out of consciousness, do tulips represent other people or things existing in the same room? Rebecca followed this by explaining that the tulips are described as attacking the speaker’s senses, creating a contrast to wanting to be numb and how the tulips are causing the pain to be more vivid. The flowers represent vitality and life, and the speaker does not want to be reminded of her health. Dr. Foss then asked the class if this is an avoidance mechanism, and the speaker does not want to be reminded of all her experiences? Katie Rose then responded by detailing how the speaker idealizes death and how utterly empty and peaceful death is. The tulips symbolize the pain of staying alive, and the speaker wants the peace of death. To further illuminate this concept and end large group, Dr. Foss explained Plath’s struggles with living with depression and an abusive husband.
The last part of the class was spent going over Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” in small groups then in large group. In small group, we discussed how the male medical lens leads to the belief that women are hypochondriacs. Tristan went over how physicians used the speaker’s gender to ignore her potential disability, and ignoring it would make it go away, based on the assumption that men know what’s best. That a disability can only be visible and mental health disabilities are not real. In large group, Brie brought on the question of if it was the paint, as they used to use lead paint in buildings, which can cause mental illness. However, the symbolism of wallpaper is that of deceit, hiding what is there. However, as our class discussion of “Tulips” was so long, we had to end this discussion promptly. Leaving Dr. Foss’s comment that the speaker wanted to be active, but she resides in a room that serves to confine people, to be the last comment on this.
“I hereby declare upon my word of honor that I have neither given nor received unauthorized help on this work”