Date of Publication
Education and Human Development
Dr. Megan Norcia, Associate Professor, English
This Honors Senior Thesis explores textual themes regarding disability in literary works featuring protagonists with a disability. In particular, it analyzes the role of literature as a way to provide exposure to and connection with the life experiences of a protagonist with a disability. The author then uses that information to generate insight into how she should approach her own creative writing project—a young adult novel portraying the lived experience of a 13-year-old male protagonist with bipolar disorder. The author focuses her attention on three works: Izzy, Willy Nilly (Cynthia Voight, 1986), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (Mark Haddon, 2003), and El Deafo (Cece Bell, 2015). Each book depicts a protagonist with a specific, named disability (amputation, ASD, and deafness). She examines how these works express or reject media-perpetuated stereotypes about disability, such as “victim/helplessness” and “inspirational/heroic”. She then offers suggestions about how she will avoid such pitfalls in her own work.
Mufford, Heather, "Disabilities in Middle-Grade Literature" (2018). Senior Honors Theses. 236.