Good Kings, Bad Kings

1208 Words5 Pages
Disability, by definition is “a physical or mental condition that limits a person 's movements, senses, or activities;” it is an impairment that restricts an individual 's ability to participate in "normal" routines in their everyday society. The term disability frightens able-bodied individuals because it challenges their own beliefs regarding normality and more importantly, their own vulnerability. As the years have progressed, however, disability has become an umbrella term that is used to categorize individuals who don’t abide to society’s norms; it is used to marginalize individuals as the weaker self. As a result, those who are disabled are thrown into institutions—ostracized from all of society. Susan Nussbaum’s novel “Good Kings, Bad Kings” focuses on an institution through the perspective of patients and workers, each with their own story to tell. While the novel implores and explores various themes throughout the character’s dialogue as prevalent throughout the novel, one striking theme that Nussbaum explores is the theme of the institution as a dumping grounds for children with disabilities. Both “A Pupil and a Patient” by Brad Byrom and “Disability and the Justification of Inequality in American History” by Douglas C. Baynton address the issue of disability injustice in institutional settings. All of these readings are similar in that they approach disability as an impairment made by society, and not necessarily the individual.
Nussbaum’s novel depicts life as an
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