Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics

This book was very interesting since it talked about disease in a very different way. It presented the idea of storytelling and the need for an individual to speak about their story in order to cope as well as help shape how stories are told. There are a variety of key ideas he proposes about illness. One being that the main problem the body has regarding illness is that although people tell stories about their bodies, "what is harder to hear in the story is the body creating the person" (p. 27). Frank also proposes four general problems of embodiment including control, body-relatedness, other-relatedness, and desire. Within these four general problems lies four ideal bodies including the disciplined body, mirroring body, dominating body and communicative body. Within these ideal body types, lies the need for stories which can be broken into three different narratives including resitiution, chaos and quest. It is interesting how Frank organizes the process of stories and how they develop from a persons illness. Although I think some of this is acurate, I dislike some of the terms he uses to describe them. For the ideal bodies, for example, he explains each as a way to group an individuals response to illness, and I wouldn't consider this "ideal" but more of a reality of what occurs. He then contradicts this notion, by saying the most ideal body is the communicative body, yet they are all grouped under ideal bodies? Overall I like how he set up the book in terms of sections and information, but he tended to repeat himself and his theories quite often rather than getting to his point.

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