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Getting to know them : characters labelled as mentally disabled in ten Canadian short stories and novels Williams, Allan James 1993

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GETTING TO KNOW THEM: CHARACTERS LABELLED AS MENTALLYDISABLED IN TEN CANADIAN SHORT STORIES AND NOVELSbyALLAN JAMES WILLIAMSB.A., The University of Lethbridge, 1977Education Diploma, The University ofBritish Columbia, 1986A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESDepartment of Educational PsychologyWe accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAAugust 1993© Allan James Williams, 1993In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)Department of Educational Psychology and Special EducationThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate September 10, 1993DE-6 (2/88)--ii--ABSTRACTThis thesis is a study of the treatment of mentaldisability in Canadian literature. Literature reflectsthe perceptions and practises of the culture of which itis a part. Radical changes have been made in recentyears in the thinking about persons with mentalhandicaps. The issue of whether the changes arereflected in literature prompted the writing of thisthesis.Little is known about characters labelled asmentally disabled in non-didactic, Canadian Literature.They are not commonly discussed in the academic journalsof Canadian Literature and Education. The purpose ofthis thesis was to get to know ten of the abovecharacters.The following questions were drawn from issues inthe academic literature regarding mental disability. Allseven questions were applied to each character in turn.(1) Label? (2) Personal relationships? (3) Thoughts andfeelings? (4) Choices? (5) Daily activity? (6)Relationship with service providers? (7) Personal assetsand abilities?Short story characters: Benny Parry, "The Time ofDeath," Munro, 1968; Dolores Boyle, "Dance of the HappyShades," Munro, 1968; Kelvin, "Circle of Prayer," Munro,1986; Neddy Baker, "Hello Cheeverland, Goodbye," Findley,1984; Stella Bragg, "Bragg and Minna," Findley, 1988.--iii--Characters from novels: Francis Cornish, What's Bred in the Bone, Davies, 1985; John-Gustav Skandl, What the Crow Said, Kroetsch, 1978; Lotte, Not Wanted on the Voyage, Findley, 1984; Rowena Ross, The Wars, Findley,1977; Tehmul Lungraa, Such a Long Journey, Mistry, 1991.Findings indicated that Canadian literature is notyet reflecting the new movement to develop fullpersonhood. Most characters were limited in the choicesthey made. A variety of labels were used. Little wassaid about what the characters think or feel. Nocharacters were married, had children, or a job. Most ofthe characters had a personal relationship with anothercharacter.TABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract^Table of Contents^ ivAcknowledgementCHAPTER ONE^INTRODUCTION^ 1Recent Historical Context^ 1Canadian Literature Background 3CHAPTER TWO^REVIEW OF LITERATURE^ 6Problem 9CHAPTER THREE^METHOD^ 11Characters 11Procedure 12Developing the questions 12Research Questions^ 12Labels^ 13Relationships 14Thoughts and Feelings^ 16Making Choices^ 17Daily Activities 18Service Providers 19The Portrayal of Assets and Abilities^ 20CHAPTER FOUR^RESULTS^ 22John-Gustav Skandl (Kroetsch, 1978) ^ 22Rowena Ross (Findley, 1977) 27Lotte (Findley, 1984) ^ 31Francis Cornish (Davies, 1985) 36Tehmul Lungraa (Mistry, 1991) ^ 42Dolores Boyle (Munro, 1968) 47Neddy Baker (Findley, 1984) 49Benny Parry (Munro, 1968) 50Kelvin (Munro, 1986) ^ 53Stella Bragg (Findley, 1988) ^ 54CHAPTER FIVE^CONCLUSION^ 57BIBLIOGRAPHY^ 61ACKNOWLEDGEMENTMany thanks to Teena Shaw, my spouse, for herassistance with reading the stories, discussing thecharacters, and offering insightful suggestions.For their encouragement, I am grateful to GeorgeWilliams, Sandra Williams, and Susan Williams. Thanks toGeorge for the use of his equipment to print this thesis.Sally Rogow's careful editing is greatlyappreciated. Thank you to Marg Csapo and Robert Pouttfor reading and commenting on the text.I thank the people at the Community Living Society,for challenging me with their thoughts and feelings.Special thanks to Ella and Ken Williams, my parents,who planted the idea in me that one ought to keep onlearning.CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION"To know people is to bring one closer tounderstanding and accepting them--and theirweaknesses as well as that which makes themunique and marvelous" (Blatt, 1981, p. 276).This thesis is a study of the treatment of mentaldisability in Canadian literature. Literature reflectsthe perceptions and practises of the culture of which itis a part. Radical changes have been made in recentyears in the thinking about persons with mentalhandicaps. The issue of whether the changes arereflected in literature prompted the writing of thisthesis.Recent Historical Context: Normalization and Social Role ValorizationRecent history in the field of mental disabilitybegan with the publication of Bengt Nirje's (1969) "TheNormalization Principle and its Human ManagementImplications" in Changing Patterns in Residential Services for the Mentally Retarded, edited by RobertKugel and Wolf Wolf ensberger. Nirje's (1969) article,slightly revised and titled "The NormalizationPrinciple," appeared in the 1976 revised edition ofChanging Patterns in Residential Services for the Mentally Retarded, edited by Robert Kugel and AnnShearer. The normalization principle is as follows:The normalization principle means making availableto all persons with disabilities or other handicaps,patterns of life and conditions of everyday livingwhich are as close as possible to or indeed the sameas the regular circumstances and ways of life ofsociety.^(Nirje, 1985, p. 67)Wolfensberger brought significant internationalattention to the concept of normalization (Briton, 1977;Mesibov, 1976; Szivos & Travers, 1988). Wolfensbergerand many others sought to improve the quality of life ofindividuals who are labelled as mentally disabled. Thenormalization principle and its application joined ahumanistic philosophy with the values of normalization todevelop more humane treatment of persons who were beingsegregated into large warehousing institutions.The term "normalization" was changed byWolfensberger (1983) to "social role valorization."Wolfensberger (1987) wrote that we need to get to know,understand, and appreciate the people in our community,no matter what their level of intellectual ability.The writings of Wolf ensberger, Blatt, Dybwad andmany others radically transformed the treatment ofpersons labelled mentally handicapped. They were broughtout of institutions and into the community. Neweducational, recreational, and work programs were--3--established. With new programs has come new insights andunderstanding of the capacity of disabled persons tobecome productive and even independent citizens.Canadian Literature BackgroundThe question of whether and how changing perceptionsof mental disability is reflected by the larger societyis an important one. This thesis explored Canadianliterature to observe how persons with mental handicapsare portrayed in contemporary Canadian fiction. Thelives of characters who have been labelled as mentallydisabled in Canadian short stories and novels needs to bestudied.In 1920, Helen MacMurchy published a pioneeringstudy of characters in English Literature (The Almosts: AStudy of the Feeble-Minded). MacMurchy analyzed thecharacters whom she described as feeble-minded in theworks of Shakespeare, Bunyan, Scott, Dickens, Lytton,Teade, Hugo, McDonald, Eliot, Conrad, Stevenson,Hawthorne, Hegan Rice, Wiggin, Greene, and Mudder.MacMurchy (1920) asked questions pertaining to theirportrayals. What does the character wear? How does thecharacter behave? What idiosyncrasy does the characterhave which is typical of a person labelled as mentallydisabled? Characters were compared with people that sheknew or had heard about. MacMurchy's book stereotypedthe labelled characters.Atwood (1972) pointed out that Canadian Literaturehas been, thematically speaking, concerned with issues ofsurvival. In the last page of her book, Survival, Atwoodasked, "Have we survived?" and "If so, what happens aftersurvival" (p.246)?Now that we have survived (even though we still facebasic issues of survival in many parts of Canada) it isnow possible to take a closer look at the variety ofpeople who are a part of Canadian culture. If theappearance of characters who are labelled as mentallydisabled in Canadian Literature--beginning inapproximately the 1960's--is an acceptable indicator,then it is reasonable to suggest that Canadian writersare becoming more concerned with social issues--includingthose related to mental disability.There are many thousands of.people who are labelledas mentally disabled in Canada. Who are they? What aretheir dreams? Where do they live? How do they feelabout themselves? Are they portrayed in Canadianliterature?Atwood (1972) cited the following lines fromAvison's (1970) poem "Snow:" "Nobody stuffs the world inat your eyes. / The optic-heart must venture: a jail-break / and re-creation" (p. 246). Atwood explained:What these three lines suggest is that in none ofour acts--even the act of looking--are we passive.Even the things we look at demand our participation,--5--and our commitment: if this participation andcommitment are given, what can result is a 'jail-break,' an escape from our old habits of looking atthings, and a 're-creation,' a new way of seeing,experiencing and imaging--or imagining--which weourselves have helped to shape. (1972, p.246)It is important that characters who have beenlabelled as mentally disabled become known. They are apart of the Canadian literary landscape.Characters who have been labelled as mentallyhandicapped are culturally marginalized by institutions,programs, policies, caregivers, and fear. Communitiesare changing as labelled individuals are moving back intothe community. During the past few decades, mentaldisability is coming out of the institutional closet inCanada.This thesis studied the portrayals of "labelled"characters in contemporary Canadian fiction.CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF LITERATURE"We in the field of mental retardation have notgiven our poets and artists very much of achance to inform us about this world"(Blatt, 1984, p. 628).The study of literature adds an important dimensionto understanding our culture and its acceptance ofdifferentness. Sarason and Doris (1979) referred toDerek Slocum, a character in Joseph Heller's novelSomething Happened, as an individual who could best beunderstood in relationship to his family. Sarason andDoris did not analyse Derek as a client, student, orperson in need of a program plan. The character of Derekwas developed through his connections with the members ofhis family. Heller clarified relationships in relationto each family members' connection or lack of connectionwith Derek.Kriegel (1982) noted that characters in earlyAmerican fiction who were physically or mentally disabledwere, "incapable of meeting the challenge of thewilderness, the infirm of body and feeble of minddiscovered that the virtues the culture celebrated wereunattainable" (p. 16). Kriegel wrote that "the disabled,at best, served merely an ornamental function in theliterature of early America" (p. 17).Kriegel (1987) pointed out that characters "whoserelationship to the world" derives from some inadequacyof body or mind are often treated first as a cripple andthen as a person (p. 32). One result of being identifiedas a person with a disability is that the person is toooften deprived of the ability to create a self (p. 33).Kriegel argued that self is much more than disability(p. 33).According to Kriegel (1969), the task for thelabelled person is to create a self independent ofsocially imposed labels (p. 430). Thus through the studyof labelled characters in literature emerges many issuesof "personhood."Biklen (1987) observed that there are many "entrypoints for analysts" of culture--for example, film,humor, religion, and TV (p. 516). Literature, notedBiklen, offers the advantage of convenience due toreadily available texts. Biklen maintains that"literature warns us . . . that society (e.g. throughsocial policy) will pursue change in the form of more andmore varied services without recognizing that it issociety's conception of disability and of people withdisabilities that also requires change" (p. 532).Literature tells us that it is necessary for peopleto change (Biklen, 1987). Labelled people, Biklenargued, need to be understood as people first. Biklenadded that cultural acceptance implies a shift from--8--depicting labelled persons as overwhelmingly dependentupon services and service providers to persons who areconnected with friends, relatives, and neighbours, livingand participating in communities. McKnight (1984) statedthat the nature of relationships between serviceproviders and people who need support is crucial tohealthy communities.Heshusius (1988) stated that science and the artsneed to be integrated in order to further ourunderstanding of exceptionalities. She wrote thatartistic "insights into the phenomenon of exceptionalitymay better sensitize researchers" and others regardingthe social complexity of the field (p. 63). Heshusius isconcerned with "sensitizing" people regarding the "socialcomplexity" of the cultural phenomenon of labelling somepeople "mentally disabled" (p. 63).Heshusius (1988) observed that the work of artistsand scientists together provides a "fuller grasp ofreality" than either one alone (p. 63). The value of anorganized, structured study of labelled people inCanadian short stories and novels is an effort to achievea fuller grasp of reality. This approach has theadvantage of preparing one for "the deeply humandimension" of work in support of labelled people, and atthe same time increases the accuracy of the gatheredinformation (Heshusius, 1988, p. 64). Such studies alsopromote a sense of the "complex interdependencies between--9--self, other, and society, which cannot be articulated byscientific methods alone" (Heshusius, 1988, P. 64).Blatt (1984) observed that "the great books andideas on mental retardation are not necessarily in [thefield of] 'mental retardation'" (p. 627). The greatbooks of mental retardation, Blatt argued, are greatbooks for everyone, because mental retardation is "partof everything else" (p. 628). The field of mentalretardation, Blatt maintained, is the field of life, andis "too universal" to be limited to social scienceresearch (p. 628).Poets inform us "about what we do to one another"(Blatt, 1984, p. 628). The field of mental retardationcan be enriched by looking to artists and poets forinsight. Blatt suggested that there is a need tounderstand how we feel about interacting with thoselabelled as mentally disabled.Heshusius (1986) considered the goal of research tobe an understanding of persons as persons, and how lifeis experienced (p. 30).The goal of this thesis was to examine the culturalattitudes, percepts, and feelings towards persons withmental handicaps as it is reflected in Canadianliterature.The ProblemThere are a few publications which have exploredportrayals of individuals with mental handicaps----10--published in the United States. For example, thecharacter of Benjamin Compson in William Faulkner's TheSound and the Fury has been examined by Tilley (1955),Stewart & Backus (1958), Peavy (1966), and Feldstein(1986). Frances G. King (1975) has prepared abibliography: "Treatment of the Mentally RetardedCharacter in Modern American Fiction." There are nocomparable publications in Canada. This thesis willattempt to discuss portrayals of individuals with mentalhandicaps in Canada.CHAPTER THREE: METHODCharacters This thesis studied the portrayal of individualswith mental handicaps in Canadian fiction. Five novelsand five short stories were identified. The novelsincluded: What's Bred in the Bone (Davies, 1985), TheWars (Findley, 1977), Not Wanted on the Voyage, (Findley,1984), What the Crow Said, (Kroetsch, 1978), Such a LongJourney, (Mistry, 1991). The short stories included:"Hello Cheeverland, Goodbye" (Findley, 1984), "Bragg andMinna" (Findley, 1988), "Dance of the Happy Shades"(Munro, 1968), "The Time of Death (Munro, 1968), "Circleof Prayer" (Munro, 1986).The purpose of the analysis was to explore howliterary portrayals reflect societal attitudes, and toget to know the full dimensions of characters labelled asmentally disabled.The characters were labelled by the charactersthemselves, another character, or the narrator of thestory. This thesis does not discuss characters who mightpossibly be labelled as mentally disabled because ofperceived IQ or adaptive behaviour.The intent was to know characters who were labelled.This thesis does not classify labelled people--in termsof medical syndromes, for example "Down's syndrome."Judgements are made, however, regarding the labels thatmight be equivalent to "mentally disabled."--12--This thesis neither challenged nor agreed with theuse of the label attached to the character. The studywas directed to trying to understand the character's lifeas portrayed by the author.Procedure A library search was made to thoroughly surveyCanadian literature. Nine faculty in Canadian Literatureat the University of British Columbia, Simon FraserUniversity, and the University of Victoria werecontacted, and offered suggestions.Developing the questions The questions were formulated on the basis ofcurrent philosophy and policies practiced in Canada. Theauthor's experience in the field of mental disability--working with individuals living in the community--provedvaluable in identifying the research questions.Research Questions The issues explored in this thesis concern howcharacters with mental handicaps are portrayed. Are theycharacterized as full people? Specifically, the writerof this thesis asked: (1) What labels are used todescribe the character's disability? (2) Whatrelationships are experienced by the character? (3) Whatthoughts and feelings are attributed to the character?(4) Does the character have opportunities to makechoices? (5) How does the character spend her or his--13--time? (6) What relationships do the characters have withservice providers? (7) What abilities are displayed?Labels The issue of labelling is important because itaddresses the problem of applying labels to persons.Mental disability or mental handicap are labels whichdescribe a condition, not an individual. This writer isinterested in how labels are applied in literary works.The nature of the label, as well as its effect on thecharacter will be examined.Empirical definitions of mental disability arenecessary in order to provide social and educationalprograms and government benefits. But categorizingindividuals is a different matter. Empirical definitionstend to perpetuate negative attitudes. Labelled personsare perceived as incompetent.Everyone--whether or not they have a disability--needs to be understood and accepted as a whole person.Persons with disabilities need to be enabled toparticipate, and not be grouped to the sidelines of theircommunities.Longmore (1985) argued that labelled people areminority group victims of community attitudes and fears(p. 422). No matter what the label--whether it be"idiot," "mentally retarded," "mentally disabled,""intellectually disabled," or "mentally challenged"--the--14--effect on the person who has been labelled is the same.She or he is devalued.Blatt (1981) wrote that "mental retardation is aninvented disease, an untrue and unnecessary story about alarge group of people" (p. 118).RelationshipsThe next issue to be explained is depiction of therelationships. Does the labelled character enjoymeaningful and intimate relationships?Normalization or social role valorization extends tothe personal and social relationships the persons with amental handicap has with their families and communities.Vanier (1985) defined "community" as "a place wherepeople grow toward wholeness" (p. 169). McKnight (1987)also defined community as "the social place used byfamily, friends, neighbors. . . . the informal sector,the unmanaged environment" (p. 56). Vanier observed thatpersons labelled as mentally disabled do not have enoughequal, sharing friends; instead they have "helpers."Vanier pointed out that true friendships imply trueequality (p. 173).McKnight (1987) stated that the essential problem isone of weak communities (p. 58). He suggested thatcaring relationships are essential (p. 58). McKnightdescribed "care" as "a special relationship characterizedby consent rather than control" (p. 57). McKnight noted--15--the need for acceptance and participation as family,friends, and neighbours.An important aspect of the portrayals of charactersis their relationships within their families orcommunities. Dybwad (1982) observed that his forty-twoyears in the field of mental retardation had shown himthat "what we call the inability of persons with severehandicaps to communicate may well be our ineptness inlistening. So we must learn to listen" (p. 30).Sarason and Doris (1979) analysed Joseph Heller'sSomething Happened. The novel described a middle-classfamily's relationships with each other, including theirson, Derek, who was labelled as mentally disabled.Sarason and Doris observed that Derek was not broughtinto focus as a human being capable of relationships(p. 61). Derek never came alive as a person in Heller'snovel.In his perceptive essay on L'Arche, a community ofhandicapped and non-handicapped persons, Sumarah (1987)noted that valuing relationships is a "primary principle"of L'Arche. Relationships are based upon a "philosophyof interdependence," with each person recognizing thevalue of the other (p. 166). Given the importance ofinterdependent relationships, an important question toask is: Are the characters of labelled persons inCanadian literature depicted as involved ininterdependent relationships?-16--Thoughts and feelings Berkeley (1985) wrote that "mental retardation isone of the most totalizing social identities that oursociety has produced" (p. 38). She stated that--in thecase of a person who is mentally disabled--dialogue aboutfamily, friends, love is usually taken over by technical,descriptive, or prescriptive dialogues (p. 38). Thelabelled person's vulnerability to remaining "unheard" .. "demands not strategies for technical control, butrather the response of more profound strength," so thatidentification with the labelled person becomes possible(p. 37).Bogdan and Taylor (1975) argued that researchersmust listen carefully and non-judgementally to a person'slife story. A significant part of understanding anyone--including a character in a story--involves getting asense of their joys, pains, successes and failures, fromthe character's point of view.Bogdan and Taylor (1982) wondered if their co-researchers who were labelled as mentally handicappedthought about themselves, and if so what they thought(p. xii). They found that persons with mental handicaps"have perspectives on their lives and situations; theyhave feelings and emotions; they subjectively experiencethe world much like anyone else" (p. 25).Edgerton (1984) used a "participant-observer"technique in his work in order to "provide some sense of--17--how these people think and feel about their lives"(p. 498).Levine and Langness (1986) showed that, "theviewpoints of retarded persons themselves must beincluded in any comprehensive study of retardation"(p. 191). They found that there was little concern inthe literature for the "emotional states of retardedpersons" (p. 96).Making choices Rioux and Crawford (1982) identified the issue ofself-determination as central to dialogue in the field ofmental disability. Dickey (1982), spokesperson for self-advocacy, remarked that "what we treasure most in ourdaily lives is our self-determination, the control overour own lives" (p. i).In their monograph, Salisbury, Crawford, & Dickey(1987) emphasized the crucial role of self-determinationand personal autonomy in the planning of supportservices. Rioux (1987) stressed that empowerment ofpeople with a mental disability included the exercise ofa "meaningful voice in decision-making about mattersaffecting their lives" (p.2).Nirje (1972) stated that individual choice is afundamental right. He suggested that:By resolving the issue of self-determination withthe retarded who are among the most voiceless anddevalued of those considered deviant by society,--18--then we can reach new heights in achieving ameaningful and culturally common self-determinationfor other devalued and impaired groups.^. . But ifthe right of self-determination is not takenseriously for the retarded, it will not be takenseriously for many other groups. (p. 189)The issue of how self-determination is realized in non-didactic, Canadian fiction is relevant to the portrayalof persons with mental handicaps.Perske (1972) suggested that the dignity of riskfollows from the dignity of choice. He maintained thatevery person's "growth potential" is jeopardized byoverprotection. The experience of risk-taking inordinary life "is necessary for normal human growth anddevelopment" (p. 195). Individual choice is natural andnecessary for human growth.Daily activities Dalziel (1990) stated that his "idea of ahandicapped person is like they can do just aboutanything they want to do. I know it because I am one andI like to be free. That's it" (p. 42).In an essay about social role valorization,Wolfensberger (1983) wrote that "the most explicit andhighest goal of normalization must be the creation,support, and defense of valued social roles for peoplewho are at risk of social devaluation" (p. 234).Wolfensberger argued that people who have a social role--19--in society will be better treated, because they have morevalue "in the eyes of others" (p. 236).Wolfensberger (1983) discussed how persons or groupsof people who are at risk of social devaluation use theirtime (p. 237). He argued that individuals who spendtheir time in socially valued ways are valued more highlythan those who have no roles.The portrayal of the social roles of the charactersis central to the value placed on the lives of personswith mental disabilitiesService providers The labelled character's involvement withprofessional service providers reflects how the characteris perceived. The central issue here is how the labelledcharacter interacts with the service provider.McKnight's (1984) essay drew attention to the processesby which flourishing communities can be turned intodeserts by the tools and efforts of service providers.McKnight stated that "a service technology can producethe specific inverse of its stated purpose. Thus, onecan imagine sickening medicine, stupidifying schools, andcrime-making corrections systems" (p. 601).In L'Arche communities, founded by Jean Vanier in1964, the buildings are places for people to livetogether (Sumarah, (1987). People who live together forma community of equals. Blatt (1985) pointed out that,"modern responses to problems of the disabled have been--20--for the most part, technical" (p. 122). Whileacknowledging the value of scientific advances, Blattargued that too much faith has been placed in the abilityof science and technology to solve problems related todisability.This thesis explored the relationships between"service providers" and characters labelled as mentallydisabled.The portrayal of assets and abilities This thesis explored how the assets and abilities oflabelled characters were portrayed. Wolfensberger (1988)suggested that "it is hard to acknowledge that a personhas certain valued assets and even nobilities when thatperson belongs to a societally devalued class in whosedevaluation one is at least partially participating"(p. 70). Wolfensberger defined "assets" as "strengths,virtues, gifts, capacities, prosocial dispositions, andresources" (p. 63). For too long professionals havetaken an "adversarial" approach by stressing deficits,and behaviour, rather than ability (Wolfensberger,p. 69). Berkson (1988) agreed that persons labelled asmentally disabled "have personal assets" (p. 71).Tisdale (1990) wrote that as she researched herarticle about people labelled as mentally disabled, thegulf between her and labelled persons disappeared; shebegan to regard them as real people (p. 47). Her article--21--became a "search for some understanding of the fitbetween them and me" (p.47).At the end of the essay, Tisdale (1990) reports herconversation with a recreation center worker who told her"if they give back a sense of trust, and joy, andcourage--well, these are things I'd think the world wouldbe hungry for" (p. 56).Dybwad & Dybwad (1977) encouraged professionals toappreciate the positive human element that was all tooeasy to overlook in studies and reports about mentalhandicaps (p. 55). The Dybwads argued that people needto change their "traditional perception of the retardedperson as a defective individual" (p. 55).--22--CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTSIntroduction This chapter will discuss the results of theanalysis.John Gustav Skandl (Kroetsch, What the Crow Said, 1978) John Gustav, or JG as he is called, lived in theLang family home in the Municipal District of Bigknifesomewhere on the Canadian prairie. JG is confined to theparlour by his family. The house, especially theparlour, was his entire world.JG lived with his mother Tiddy Lang, hisgrandmother, six sisters, and for awhile John Skandl,whom his mother weds after Martin Lang (her husband)dies. Gus Liebhaber, a family friend occasionally stayedat JG's family home.It is not clear who JG's father is, although it isreasonably clear that it was either John Skandl or GusLiebhaber (note that JG has the given names of both men).John Skandl appeared indifferent to whether he is JG'sbiological father, while Gus Liebhaber is willing tofight anyone who challenges his part in the conception ofJG. JG appeared to have no interest in which man is hisbiological father.The theme of the novel centers on the idea thateverything is uncertain. As the black crow wrylysuggested, there are no winners in the seemingly endless--23--card game of life (p. 87). Life is not a question ofwinning; life is a matter of making meaning where noneexists.Kroetsch goes one step further than Henry DavidThoreau's observation that the mass of men lead lives ofquiet desperation. Kroetsch would add that at the end ofthe life of desperation there is no winner. There aresimply those who have lived, those who have used theirimagination, and those who have at least tried, like JG,to fly.JG never speaks; he even laughs noiselessly (p. 87).Tiddy tells Joe Lightning, however, that "JG sang in herwomb. Before he was born he had the habit of singing. .. Only at the moment of birth did JG fall into histerrible silence" (p. 156).JG's notable characteristics include his tendency towalk in figure eights (p. 146). He is portrayed asincontinent--moving his bowels in his trousers regularly(pp. 791 133, 149, 155). JG is remembered by his motheras making the parlour smell of excrement (p. 155). Thereader is not told much about JG, but the narratorrepeatedly speaks of JG's "handsome face" (pp. 61, 86,146). JG is killed trying to fly from the top of thepoplar tree. His sister, Theresa, left him alone for amoment and forgot to close the little wooden gate thatkept him in the parlour.--24--The narrator refers to JG as: "the strange child"(p. 41); "forever innocent" (p. 62); "eternally young"(p. 86); "not guilty of thought" (p. 147); and a personof "simple knowing" (p. 147).JG is prevented from making his own choices. It hasbeen assumed that he had no choices to make. His familyconfined him to the parlour. None of the characters seeminterested in encouraging JG's sense of self or self-determination. There is nothing to suggest that JG isaware that he has choices. His family has chosen forhim.There is an absence of meaningful activity in JG'sexistence. His main activities are playing with jigsawpuzzles (pp. 87, 192), watching the men play cards(pp. 79, 87), and sitting in the parlour with the blackcrow (pp. 62, 88, 130). He is portrayed as spending mostof his time alone, or being cared for by family andneighbours.The author does not allow us access to JG's mind, sothe reader is unaware of JG's thoughts. But JG can beassumed to think. He played with jigsaw puzzles (p. 87).Also, he figured out how to climb a huge old poplar. Theauthor suggested through some of the characters that thecrow understood JG, and "sometimes spoke on behalf of JG"(p. 64). Generally, though, JG is portrayed as a "silentchild" (p. 64), understood and befriended by only thecrow (p. 157). At the time of JG's escape and subsequent--25--death, the narrator tells us that JG is "not guilty ofthought" (p. 147).JG's feelings are less mysterious than his thoughts.He sulks when he is expected to go to bed (p. 81); andhis joy is forcefully evident when the unkempt, card-playing men return to the Lang home (p. 129). Feelingsare attributed to him such as consternation--caused bythe reactions of everybody when his sister's son returns(p. 133). During the episode when Theresa leaves himunattended with the door open, and he steps outside, itis easy to empathize with JG's "simple joy" in hisexperience of freedom. He can feel the wind on his face(p. 146).JG's mother and sisters are portrayed as thinking ofJG as someone who needs to be looked after. The card-playing, unruly men in the novel mostly ignore him(p. 129). JG's only real friend is the black crow(p. 148). JG's memory is honored by Joe Lightning, whothought that JG had succeeded in entering the sky(p. 156). Other characters in the novel considered thatJG was able to communicate with the crow (p. 157).Liebhaber and Tiddy talk to JG by addressing the crow(pp. 62, 69).Since the reader never knows what JG is thinking, itis not possible to know what he thinks of his family.His mother, according to the narrator, "accepted hisexistence as she accepted the stinkweeds, the--26--grasshoppers, the green grass in spring, the sun"(p. 69).There are no characters in the novel who value orlisten to JG, except Liebhaber who thought he was JG'sbiological father; but even he is not so much attached toJG, as he is keen to be acknowledged as Tiddy's man.The black, unnamed crow unconditionally accepts JG.It simply shows up when JG is born, and attaches itselfto JG who is fascinated by it, and the crow is never seenagain after JG's death (pp. 62, 148). Both the crow andJG are inscrutable characters.JG is not involved with any professional serviceproviders. But he is the victim of his family's lowexpectations (they keep him confined to the parlour).JG is not treated for any "condition." He is simplyaccepted for what his family perceives him to be:neither man nor child--just a being to be fed andsheltered.JG is portrayed with a gift for feeling joy, andlaughing, albeit silently (pp. 87, 129, 146). Hislaughter seems to lighten the load of the men burdened bythe almost endless card game (p. 87). JG is able toexperience joy by simply feeling an ordinary wind(p. 146).JG's friendship with the black crow has asignificant role in the novel. Joe Lightning appreciatedJG's ability to communicate with the black crow. JG--27--appears to be a mythic figure--able to communicate with abird, but not his fellow man.Rowena Ross (Findley, The Wars, 1977) Rowena is the eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs ThomasRoss, and sister to Stuart, Margaret, and Robert Ross.She has her own room in the family's Toronto, Ontariohome. Rowena is devoted to her pet rabbits which arekept in cages made especially for her by Robert so thatshe can have easy access to them while sitting in herwicker wheelchair.The larger political and social context for her lifeis the Great War. Rowena dies in 1915. She falls fromher wheelchair while caring for her rabbits, the victimof her brother Stuart's lack of care (p. 22).The setting for Rowena's existence is not only thewealthy Ross family home, but also Robert's consciousnessas he endures the horrors, the stench of putrefyingcorpses, chlorine gas, and the desolation of soul causedby the meaningless killing of thousands of people over afew yards of stinking mud.Rowena Ross's part in Findley's Governor General'sAward winning novel is minor yet pervasive. She diesearly in the story, but she lives on as a powerfulfeature of Robert's spirit (p. 21). Rowena's love foranimals is reflected in the character of Captain Rodwellwith whom Robert lived in the trenches during World WarI. Like Rowena, Captain Rodwell cared for small animals.--28--He too died a senseless death without Robert's presence(p. 134).Rowena's death prompts Robert to enlist. Like anightmarish dream, the story is filled with images ofsuffering and dying during World War I in the mud andtrenches of France. Robert's despair over failing toprotect Rowena was deeply distressing to him.The theme of The Wars is concerned with the ideathat "people can only be found in what they do" (p. 11).The character of Rowena is connected to this theme by hercare. She cares for Robert and her rabbits (p. 22).Rowena has curly, short hair, with perpetuallyhunched shoulders; and she has an adult-sized head on abody that looks like a ten-year-old's, although Rowena istwenty-five years old (p. 14). A photograph of Rowena isdescribed as "pensive" and "lovely" (p. 14).Although Robert keeps a picture of Rowena on hisbureau, her pictures are not shown in public. Thenarrator says "in fact she is not much admitted into thepresence of a camera" (p. 13). Rowena's absence fromfamily photos indicates a paradox, because, as thenarrator observes, Mr and Mrs Ross love all theirchildren (p. 21). Yet their love of Rowena is keptseparate from the public image of a prosperous family.Rowena is accepted by her family in private.Publicly she is denied. The author considered that the--29--position of the family made it more difficult to letother people know about Rowena's existence.Rowena Ross is described by the narrator as"hydrocephalic," born "with water on the brain" (p. 14).Hydrocephalus (presently controlled by shunting) iscaused by an excess of undrained cerebrospinal fluid.Before surgical intervention this syndrome was associatedwith mental retardation (Hallahan & Kauffman, 1982,p. 334).Rowena's label, "hydrocephalic" (p. 14), is amedical term, but no medicine is mentioned, nor is therea reference to a public or private school or treatmentcentre. Rowena is characterized as a person to beprotected and cared for by Robert and her family.Findley's description of Rowena's condition issensitive. She is described as a well-dressed youngwomen in a wicker wheelchair who is loved and cared for,who loves Robert, and enjoys playing with and caring forher rabbits. Neither she nor the other characters aretroubled by her label. There is no indication that sheis aware of being "mentally disabled."Rowena is not aware of choices that had been madefor her. She spends her time sitting and staring atRobert when he was a baby (p. 14). She chooses to playwith her rabbits, feeding and caring for them, andholding them on her lap (p. 22). In a moving speech she--30--expressed her wish that Robert and her rabbits would lastforever. Findley writes:Robert?''Yes, Rowena?''Will you stay with me forever?''Yes, Rowena.''Can the rabbits stay forever too?''Yes, Rowena' ^(p. 22).Throughout the novel Rowena exists more as apowerful memory in Robert's consciousness than a strongcharacter. Whether he is killing an innocent horse,observing Rodwell's animal friend, or burning Rowena'sphotograph, Rowena's memory haunts Robert (p. 172).The narrator does not allow us access to Rowena'smind, so we can only infer what she feels or thinks fromher appearance and actions. Rowena is attached to Robertand worries that someday Robert would leave her (p. 22).Rowena's only significant human relationship appearsto be with Robert, her younger brother. He is the onlyperson who interacts with her in a friendly way. Roberttreated Rowena as a person. Their relationship could bedescribed as interdependent. Her parents are notdepicted as involved with her as they are with Robert.Like JG in What the Crow Said, Rowena is described asattached to her animal friends, the rabbits.Rowena's death early in the story works to make hersimply an appendage to Robert's despair. Rowena is less--31--a person in her own right as much as she is a weight inRobert's mind, a reminder of his frustrated need to love.However, Rowena is also depicted as bringing joy toRobert. Findley writes, "it was for her he learned torun" (p. 14). She made Robert feel like he wanted to bewith her all the time (p. 95).Lotte (Findley, Not Wanted on the Voyage, 1984) Lotte (no surname) is described as a female child,with ape-like arms and an underslung jaw. She wears acotton dress, and has an irrepressible grin (pp. 169,179). She has her mother's brown eyes. And she is tiny,because little Mrs Noyes seems to carry her with ease(p. 257).Lotte is not wanted on the ark by Doctor Noah Noyesbecause he is repulsed by her ape-like appearance, lackof mental ability, and her differentness. She is treatedas a reminder of human imperfection. Noah had a child ofhis own (like Lotte) which he killed (pp. 162-166). Itwas the custom in Noah's community to destroy babies whoare born with unusual features. Noah was intent onfollowing the custom in order to protect his prestige asa good friend of Yahweh. Concern regarding communitycensure, and fear of not being recognized as the perfect,all-knowing right-hand man to God motivated Noah's cruelbehaviour.--32--Noah is an elitist whose fear of the unknown, whosecruelty and violence toward animals and humans make himthe novel's antagonist, conspiring with Yahweh Lord Godagainst ordinary, hard-working, sane people like Lotte'sfamily. Yahweh and Noah's Edict does not include thelikes of Lotte. Lotte perishes despite Mrs Noyes'desperation to save her. So the ark sets out without thedead child.In this tragic-comic fantasy Findley imagines theflood as God and Noahs' prideful, horribly wasteful, andcruel conspiracy to eliminate all who are different andall who do not admire and obey them. Not Wanted on the Voyage is a condemnation of God and Noahs' flood asmerely an attempt to destroy individual diversity and toforce obedience to Yahweh and Noah.Findley characterized Noah's relationship with allother beings as that of master and slave. Lotte cannotbe a useful slave. She is an embarrassment to Noah'sappetite for control and order--his control and hisorder.The story is told mostly from the point of view ofthe protagonist, Mrs Noyes, and her dear companion,Mottyl the cat. The narrator does not allow us access toLotte's mind.The novel is set in a pastoral countryside. Thereis an apple orchard in which Mrs Noyes picks and eats theforbidden apples. Lotte lives in the woods across a--33--river from Mr and Mrs Noyes. She is found near the riverby Mrs Noyes who helps Lotte to board the ark.Like Rowena, Lotte is portrayed as a young, innocentfemale. Both characters have protectors, Robert Rossand Mrs Noyes. The reader is not told the thoughts ofthese characters, rather other people's thoughts aboutthem are made explicit. Rowena Ross greatly affects thefeelings of the main character, Robert Ross; and the sameis true of Lotte and Mrs Noyes. The characters aredepicted as loved by their parents, but there is littledescription of either their physical appearance or theiremotions. The characters function as literary devicesused to focus and develop the story plot.Because the character of Lotte is the focus of otherpeople's ideas, thoughts, and feelings, the reader doesnot experience Lotte as a real person with real concerns.She is depicted as the object of Mrs Noyes' affection andstrength, her family's love, and Noah's cruelty.Shortly after she is introduced, Lotte is labelledby Noah as having a mental age of "anywhere between twoand nil" (p. 148). The narrator refers to Lotte as a"stay-at-home child" (p. 117), who is ape-like inappearance (p. 179).Lotte's name is used to describe one who is likeher. Thus Mrs Noyes' baby, Adam, is referred to as"Lotte-like" (p. 160-163). Lotte-like people are notallowed to live in Noah and Mrs Noyes' world, so Adam,--34--Japeth's "Lotte-like" twin, is drowned soon after hisbirth (p. 165). The characters in the novel generallyuse the label "Lotte-like" as a term of contempt. Theauthor does not allow Lotte to express how sheunderstands the contempt shown to her.However, Lotte is depicted as experiencing otherthoughts and feelings. Lotte's father tells Mrs Noyesthat Lotte misses her sister Emma who has married MrsNoyes son, Japeth (p. 117). During the rescue incidentat the river Mrs Noyes perceives Lotte to be "frightened"(p. 153). After Mrs Noyes succeeds at crossing theswollen river, Lotte smiles with "pleasure" (p. 154).But then Lotte begins to "chatter and cry" because shehad been abandoned by her parents (p. 156). Lotte's eyesare "full of tears" at the thought of her parents (p.156). During the boat trip across the flooding river,Lotte sits "cringing in the stern" (p. 159).Little choice is available to the character ofLotte. Her wish to visit Emma is ignored. She is keptat home by her parents, for her protection from thecommunity (p. 117). Against her wishes, Lotte's parentsleave her by the river during the flood.Lotte is depicted as an object of other character'saffection, love, cruelty, and violence. She is reactive,and not in control of her life. The fact that her familyor Mrs Noyes do the choosing for her contributes to her--35--powerlessness. Lotte is not depicted as being concernedthat her choices are made by others.Lotte's character contrasts with that of thescheming Doctor Noyes. Noah's obsession with doingeverything his own way is in contrast with Lotte'spowerlessness. She is the victim of Noah's obsessionwith total control.Lotte's social role is not a valued one, despite thefact that she is loved. Lotte is not involved in manyactivities outside her home. She spends her time withher family and Mrs Noyes. Lotte participates in familyrituals of work and play: she goes to work with herfather and brothers, and she sits with her family in thebathhouse once listening to her father's stories(p. 257).Before the event of the flood Lotte livedcomfortably within the circle of her hard-working, happyfamily. She was favored by her siblings and parents(p. 257). Her brothers spoiled her, her father carriedher around, and she was hardly out of her mother's sight(pp. 257-258). One member of the family was always withher, especially when they needed to hide Lotte because astranger dropped by (p. 258). Lotte was used to curlingup beside and being stroked by her sister Emma (p. 258).Lotte is depicted as being capable of affection.Lotte missed Emma after her marriage to Japeth Noyes(p. 117), and Emma adored Lotte (p. 161). Lotte is--36--protected by her family from the cruelty of the community(p. 149). In contrast with Noah's family, who arecontrolled by Noah, Lotte lived within a family whoserelationships were warm and caring.Despite the threat of Noah's anger and cold-heartedness, Mrs Noyes brought Lotte aboard the ark tosave her from the flood (p. 160). Mrs Noyes' concern forLotte was motivated by both love for Lotte and her guiltfor having killed her own Lotte-like child eighteen yearsearlier, an act she desperately regretted (p. 161). MrsNoyes held Lotte's corpse, talking and singing. Shesewed up her throat, and dressed her in clean clothes,before placing the body in her trousseau chest (p. 181).Lotte is depicted as happy and loving. She has an"irrepressible grin" (p. 179). She trusts Mrs Noyes tohelp her (p. 158); and she has the special power of beingable to see the Faeries (p. 155).Francis Cornish (Davies, What's Bred in the Bone, 1985) There are two brothers in this novel with the name"Francis Cornish." This thesis will refer to thecharacter under study as Francis, and the other Franciswill be "younger brother."The book is a biography of Francis' younger brother.Davies portrays Francis as a significant influence on hisyounger brother. The narrator (Daimon Maimas) tells theyounger brother's life story to a fellow spirit (the--37--Lesser Zadkiel). He is not overly concerned with thedetails of Francis' life, except as they relate to theyounger brother.Francis has no Daimon, and no biographer. He wascreated to make the author's point that nothing is amatter of chance. Zadok Hoyle, Francis' biologicalfather, says, "Life's a rum start," and, "nothing comesby chance. Everything's written down somewhere, youknow, and we have to live the lives that are foreseen forus long before the world began" (pp. 137, 139). Francisis one more suffering mortal among many.Francis' story is set in Blairlogie, a town of 5,000people, mostly Scots, sixty miles northwest of Ottawa,Ontario (p. 14). Francis was born in Switzerland in1903; and brought to Blairlogie as a baby, and he neverleaves (p. 27).Davies describes Francis: "its head was very smallfor its body, and the skull ran, not to a point, but to aknob, not very big, on which grew black hair" (p. 131).His small eyes "peeped out at the world without muchcomprehension" (p. 131). Francis spent most of his timedressed in "crumpled flannelette pyjamas" (p. 131).Like JG, Rowena, and Lotte, Francis also dies young.His death is less dramatic than JG and Lottes', but hetoo is a victim of a momentary lapse in care. Victorialeft him alone with the drunken Zadok who did not noticethat the boy was struggling to breathe (p. 193).--38--Francis Cornish was described by the narrator as the"tedious little intruder" (p. 38), "the regrettable baby"(p. 51), "the sick child" (p. 57), "odd being" (134),"the creature" (135), "it" (136), and "the Loaner"(p. 381). Francis' brother thought about him as "notlike a human person" (p. 131), "Loaner" (p. 132),"goblin" (p. 265), "that dark inheritance" (p. 265),"punishment for something" (p. 265), "badly afflicted"(p. 309), and "that poor wretch, the Loaner" (p. 432).Francis' grandfather, James McRory, called him "thatpoor creature" (p. 144). One of the townspeople ofBlairlogie told her son that the McRorys have "a loaner"in their attic (p. 132). Daimon Maimas, the narrator,called him the "dark brother" (p. 147), and an "oddity"(p. 148). Dr Jerome, physician to the McRory family,labels Francis as "a burden" (p. 57), "idjit" (p. 54),"poor idjit" (p. 144), and "that idjit" (p. 147).Francis is not portrayed as caring about the abovedescriptions. The family tolerates the names applied toFrancis in their fear and abhorrence of Francis. OnlyFrancis' brother ever called him by his proper name.Victoria Cameron and Zadok Hoyle, the people who caredabout him, addressed him more affectionately (p. 136).Francis is under the care of the family physician,Dr Jerome, whose advice reduced the quality of Francis'life. The doctor proposed no method of nurturingFrancis, or helping the family to understand Francis'--39--needs, and he encouraged the hiding of Francis in a"hospital prison" in the attic (p. 137). Dr Jeromepredicted that Francis would not live long, but Francislived on well past the doctor's expectations. His bleakmedical opinion doomed Francis to a heavily restrictedlife. Francis' grandfather preferred that Francis die,but Dr Jerome refused to make his death convenient. DrJerome made it clear that he would not kill anyone, nomatter what their mental and physical condition (p. 146).Dr Jerome's attitude led him to suggest that Franciswas the result of his mother having a "disease of themind" (pp. 145, 146). Dr Jerome ordered Francis to bepadlocked into a very uncomfortable wire contraptionwhenever he attempted to masturbate (p. 136).Francis was hidden in the attic for the first sixyears of his life. His family then staged a funeral,complete with coffin and headstone, which had no surname(p. 58). Only a few people knew that the funeral was afake. Francis' mother was unaware that her son did notactually die. She had no interest at all in Francis.Francis lived in his grandparents' attic (p. 130),spending most of his time in a hospital bed, described as"a sort of topless cage" (p. 130).Francis' was cared for by Zadok Hoyle the hired man,and Victoria Cameron the cook (p. 133). When his brotherdiscovered that Francis was alive he joined Zadok and--40--Victoria for pleasant evenings in the attic. Zadok andVictoria sang to him and Francis (p. 133).Zadok Hoyle does not realize that he is in factFrancis' biological father (pp. 198, 199). Mary-JacobineMcRory, Francis' mother, had a fleeting sexual encounterwith Zadok Hoyle, a temporary hotel worker, when shevisited London. Zadok came to Blairlogie as a hired handfor Mary-Jacobine's father, but no one--least of allMary-Jacobine--recognized him; nor did Zadok recognizeMary-Jacobine.Francis' brother was technically his half-brother.Interactions between the brothers were limited to theyounger brother sneaking up to the attic--without hisgrandparents' knowledge--to draw pictures of Francis(p. 136). Francis was a figure in his younger brother'sfinest painting (pp. 391, 396). The younger brother feltpity for Francis (p. 432). Francis had a profoundinfluence on his brother's spiritual development. DaimonMaimas explains that influence:The Looner was a lifelong reminder of theinadmissible primitive in the most cultivated life,a lifelong adjuration to pity, a sign that disorderand abjection stand less than a hair's breadth awayfrom every human creature. A continual counsel tomake the best of whatever fortune had given him.(Davies, 1985, p. 207)--41--Although Francis has a stirring effect on his brother'ssoul, there is no mutuality in their relationship. Asidefrom a few moments of merriment with Zadok and Victoria,the brother did nothing to free Francis. He could noteven bring himself to ask about his brother until afterFrancis' death.Francis' mother and father wanted little to do withtheir son. They had no relationship with him. Francis'grandmother, Marie-Louise, according to the DaimonMaimas, inadvertently caused Francis' disabilities byattempting to help her daughter to abort (p. 207). Shemade her drink gin and take hot baths. The grandparentsnever visited Francis in the attic. Francis' grandfatherhoped that his grandson would die. He perceived Francisas being less than human, and as an embarrassment to apowerful family.Francis made few choices. Francis' highlyrestrictive physical confinement had a powerful negativeimpact on the range of choices available to him. Thereader is not told how Francis felt about his virtualimprisonment.The narrator tells us that Francis enjoys and is"enchanted" by his friends' singing (p. 134). Also, heenthusiastically responds to music by hopping up and downin his bed (p. 135). None of the characters "could tellhow much the Looner understood of anything, but heresponded to rhythm" (p. 135). The reader knows little--42--of Francis' thoughts. He "could not talk" (p. 135), andis described as "quiet" and "attentive" when Victoria andZadok spoke (p. 135).Francis enjoyed music, and inspired his youngerbrother's drawing and painting. The narrator noted thatFrancis was physically "very strong" (p. 148). Francisbrought love into the life of Zadok Hoyle, and theexperience of motherhood to Victoria Cameron (p. 207).Tehmul Lungraa (Mistry, Such a Long Journey, 1991) This Governor General's award-winning novel is setagainst the backdrop of political corruption and civilunrest in Indira Gandhi's India. Tehmul lived in anapartment building and was well known to his neighbours.He is depicted as a solitary figure, wandering about thecompound of Khodadad Apartment Building, sometimeshelping, sometimes offending his neighbours. Thebuilding is located in a middle-class area of Bombay.His neighbours include a bank clerk, police inspector,lawyer's mother, and a retired major.Tehmul is described as "lame" because he walks withdifficulty (pp. 29, 30). His swaying, rolling gait isone of his traits. Tehmul is in his "mid-thirties," andis often smiling (pp. 30-31).Tehmul's personal hygiene is so poor as to cause"revulsion" in his neighbour (p. 152). His nails areuncut with "greenish black stuff" beneath them (p. 152).--43--He picks his nose and eats the pickings (p. 153). Hisfeet are covered with dead skin and "little black bits,"smelling like "vomit" (p. 153).Tehmul is one of the main characters in the novel.He is described as speaking quickly and repetitively; fewpeople can understand what he says. His quick,repetitive speech causes "extreme frustration for bothTehmul and the listener" (p. 31).Both Tehmul's physical and mental disability areblamed on a fall from a neem tree when he was a boy(p. 30). After the accident he was dismissed by hisschool (p. 30). He ends up as a free spirit wanderingabout Khodadad Building and the neighbourhood.Such A Long Journey is about the strength of hope inthe face of suffering. Despite his disability Tehmulwants to take part in the life of his community. As thepavement artist observes, "the journey--chanced,unplanned, solitary--[is] the thing to relish" (p. 184).Tehmul is an interesting character; he exasperatesor helps others. His charm derives from the fact that heis free to come and go within his neighbourhood. Fewpeople can ignore him. Tehmul is often at the centre ofevents. Tehmul is well-known for scratching and rubbinghis groin and armpits in public (p. 31). The womenneighbours thought that he did this to annoy them(P. 31).--44--The narrator introduces Tehmul as "lame Tehmul"(p. 29). His neighbour's nickname for him is "scrambledegg" (p. 31). On several occasions the profane InspectorDamji calls Tehmul "scrambled egg" to his face, andsometimes accompanies his verbal abuse with a slap orwallop on the face (pp. 126, 168, 331).Gustad Noble refers to Tehmul as "God's unfortunateone" (p. 86), "poor fellow" (p. 116), and "poor lamefellow with a half-cracked head" (p. 203). Gustad'sreaction of pity and sympathy for Tehmul is reflected inthe names he uses in reference to his friend.Gustad Noble's wife, Dilnavaz, calls Tehmul an"idiot" several different times (pp. 89, 112, 119).Dilnavaz also uses the terms "empty shell" and "damagedhead" (pp. 152, 153). Gustad's wife is obviously lessgentle than her husband in the matter of labellingTehmul.There are no service providers involved withassisting Tehmul. His parents died long before the storybegins. He lives with a brother, who does not make anappearance in the novel (p. 30). Tehmul is left to hisown devices because he has no other relatives. Tehmulliked being with the children of the neighbourhood, eventhough they tormented and teased him (p. 31).Dilnavaz Noble, in conspiracy with Miss Kutpitia,treated Tehmul poorly, and thought she could transfer her--45--daughter's sickness to Tehmul in a magic spell. Dilnavazalso had Tehmul run her errands.Tehmul "adores" Gustad, who can understand hisunusual speech (pp. 30, 32). Gustad listened carefullyto Tehmul, and was like a father to him. But even Gustadwas quick to assume that Tehmul had nothing of importanceto say (p. 86). Gustad threatened to slit Tehmul'sthroat if he tells anyone about the mysterious money(p. 118). Tehmul was horrified when Gustad took out hisknife, and showed Tehmul how he would cut his throat(p. 118).Tehmul was thrilled by Roshan's (Gustad's daughter)large doll, and was overwhelmed with a desire to touch it(p. 88). He burst into tears of adoration, and pettedthe doll's cheeks lightly, stroked its lips, and lookedinto its blue eyes, and laughed with joy (pp. 88, 89).Tehmul stole the doll, and used it for sexual pleasure(pp. 301, 302). When Gustad discovered Tehmul with thedoll, Tehmul was sorry, ashamed, and cried (pp. 302,303). Gustad is so affected that he allows him to keepthe doll (p. 304).Tehmul's emotional life had many twists and turns.He was frustrated by his rejection from the women at thebrothel (p. 203). Things that soared or flutteredthrough the air enchant him (p. 31). And he was"engrossed" by the fire truck (p. 290). He followed hisneighbours, but he was bewildered when they chased him--46--away (p. 31). Gustad is moved by both Tehmul's "innocentjoy" at seeing the rusty old flashlight, and hisgratitude when Gustad helped him find the doll's bracelet(p. 309). Tehmul was excited during the riot outside hiscompound (pp. 328, 329). He was spellbound by fighting,and unhappy when Gustad made him keep clear of therioting crowd (p. 329).Compared to other labelled characters in this study,Tehmul's relatively free range of movement throughout theneighbourhood affords him significantly more choices andrisks. Tehmul's choices tended to get him into trouble.He angered Gustad by telling others about the money, andby stealing the doll. Inspector Bamji walloped him forimitating him (p. 330). Neighbours were offended when hefollows them (p. 31). He innocently tortured live ratsby watching them change colour and die as he pouredboiling water over them (p. 33). Tehmul died when heventured too close to a riot. A falling brick hit him onthe head.Tehmul earned money by returning captured rats tothe municipality (p. 32). Tehmul is described as helpfulto his neighbours and their children. Tehmul runserrands for Gustad and other characters. When Gustad hasa load of packages, Tehmul helps him carry them (pp. 108,151). Without complaint, Tehmul runs off to find thenight watchman at Gustad's behest (p. 137). Dilnavazreceives Tehmul's assistance in fetching Gustad from the--47--bus stop (p. 188). Tehmul helps by taking the petitionaround for signatures (p. 216). When a phone messagecomes for Gustad, it is Tehmul who brings it (p. 232).Tehmul had a sense of humour (p. 32). He couldimitate chickens squawking (p. 32). He was trusting to afault (p. 86). The Shiv Sena group used him todistribute propaganda; and Dilnavaz used him to be therecipient of her daughter's evil spell. Tehmul'sgratefulness to Gustad is apparent--he appreciatedGustad's generosity and concern (pp. 33, 304). Gustadmourned his death (pp. 333-337). Tehmul and Gustad werefriends, a rarity for labelled characters in fiction.Dolores Boyle (Munro, "Dance of the Happy Shades," 1968) Dolores is a musician. The impatient, irritablemothers in the story surrender to the "unemotionalhappiness," and the "fragile, courtly, and gay" feelingof Dolores' piano playing (p. 222).The effect of Dolores' superb musicianship upon themothers and their children is anxiety provoking (p. 222).The skeptical listeners are unwilling to accept Dolores'giftedness. They are unable to celebrate Dolores'ability, because it is somehow "perhaps not altogether ingood taste," to speak about the girl from a school forthe mentally disabled (pp. 222, 223).In this story there is a division between thesophisticated world of the mothers, and the "other--48---country" (wherein live the overly simple Miss Marsallesand the plain children from Greenhill School). Thenarrator explains: the children from Greenhill Schoollove Miss Marsalles but the rest of us do not (p. 223).The narrator describes Dolores and her fellowstudents as "a procession of little--little idiots"(p. 222). Mrs Clegg refers to the school children as"not all there" (p. 221). But Miss Marsalles treats allof them as just children who "need music" (p. 213).Dolores has few choices. Given the brevity ofDolores' role in the story (she arrives at the party,plays the piano, then her role is finished), it isdifficult to speak of anyone deciding for her. We arenot told about her thoughts. Dolores is not a personwith volition, hopes, and fears.Miss Marsalles is portrayed as interested in Dolores(p. 217). The story suggests that Miss Marsalles looksforward to Dolores' presence because of her musicalability.No family of the children from Greenhill school areportrayed. Dolores' parents are not at the recital.The character of Dolores is used as a literarydevice to expose the shallowness of the mothers' attitudetoward people who are different.Dolores' asset is her musical talent, and her talentis the focal point of the story.--49--Neddy Baker (Findley, "Hello Cheeyerland, Goodbye," 1984) The story is a potpourri of character sketches tiedtogether in time and place. All of the characters areportrayed over the period of a few days in early summer--on a dead-end street in an affluent neighbourhood nearNew York. Neddy is a man, weighing "two-hundred-and-thirty pounds" (p. 173). Neddy's mother, Mrs Baker,observed that "the only time he looks like a man" is whenhe is asleep (p. 208).Neddy is introduced by the narrator as "twenty-threeyears old, with a mental age of five" (p. 172). Anothercharacter, Rosetta Fillimore, referred to him as "thatboy," "the kid," and "that Neddy Baker kid," even thoughNeddy is a young man (p. 178).Neddy's obscenities are connected with his mentalage (p. 172), connecting mental disability with shoutingobscenities. Neddy often shouts obscenities for "an houror so at a stretch," accompanied by "tears of frustrationand a flail of fists" (p. 172).Except for his brother and mother, no one else inthis story goes to the trouble of talking with Neddy.Neddy's relationships with his family are not elaborated,but we are told that Neddy loves his brother (p. 172).Neddy's mother loves him (p. 208). She is his mostimportant relationship. He is her "favorite son"(p. 207). Mrs Baker sings to Neddy: "You'll never knowjust how much I love you. You'll never know just how--50--much I care" (p. 208). There is some irony in thisbecause even his mother spends very little time with him(p. 172). Neddy's mother has pretty much organized anddetermined his life for him.Neddy is cared for by a nurse, who is described as"unattentive" and "remote" (p. 172). Neddy is portrayedappreciating being left to do what he pleases. SinceNeddy's physical needs are served by a nurse, his familygoes about their business without having to be connectedwith him.Neddy's role is minor. His character is apersonification of unfocussed frustration, and he neveremerges as a developed human being.Benny Parry (Munro, "The Time of Death," 1968) Benny is an eighteen month old baby who exists as amemory in the thoughts of the other characters, becausehe has already died when the story begins. Benny's deathoccurred when he was home with only his siblings. He iskilled when he knocks boiling water onto himself.After Benny's death, the neighbour women gather withMrs Parry to mourn Benny and support the mother (p. 91).Allie McGee, a neighbour who nursed Benny until he wasten months old, describes Benny as the best little oneshe ever looked after (p. 92).The narrator mentioned that other children Benny'sage are "cuter to look at" (p. 93). He is "long and thin--51--and bony," and his face is "pale, mute, unexpectant"(p. 93). He smiles if he is picked up, but his smile istinged with "timidity or misgiving" (p. 93). Benny'sdubious smile gives Patricia, his sister, a "sad tiredfeeling" (p. 93).Patricia thinks of her little brother as "stupid"(p. 93). Despite her hatred of stupid things, Benny is"the only stupid thing she [Patricia] did not hate"(p. 93). In the "Foreword" to Munro's book, Hugh Garnerreferred to Benny as "pitiably retarded" (p. vii).Benny lives with his mother, father, and siblings inan unpainted, wooden house. Benny's home is described bythe narrator as dark, messy, and smelly (pp. 92, 93, 94).Mr Parry stays away from the house, getting drunkand belligerent with the other men (p. 92). He sensesthat something is expected of him, but he is "not equalto it" (p. 92).Mrs Parry's pride in Patricia's budding beauty andtalent does not prevent her from placing complete blamefor Benny's death on Patricia, despite the fact that MrsParry leaves Benny alone at home with the other childrenfor far too long. Mrs Parry's neglect can be interpretedas a failure to care about Benny. Mrs Parry fails toaccept responsibility for her son before and after hisdeath. Mrs Parry's response to Benny's death is selfish,but Patricia responds with love.--52--Patricia is the only character who cared aboutBenny. She rescued him from the blows of their sisterIrene; she spent time with him looking out the window;she tried to teach him to talk; and even wiped his nose(p. 93). Patricia is the only person who listened toBenny. And she was the only one who mourned Benny.Patricia is described as breaking down in uncontrollabledespair when an incident reminded her of Benny (p. 99).In a spiritually and physically infertile setting,Patricia's love for Benny is able to flourish.Various thoughts and feelings are attributed toBenny's character. He whimpers when Irene hits him(p. 92). He expresses interest in the neighbour's dog(p. 93), and is excited when Bram the travellingscissors-man comes calling (p. 93). He likes to bepicked up and held "like a little baby" (p. 93). Bennylikes to look out the window "for hours." Benny is indeep pain after the boiling water accident (p. 94). Hemakes noises, "not like crying, but more a noise like . .• a dog . . . after its hind parts were run over, butworse, and louder" (p. 94).Benny is described as a curious and happy baby whoseactivities included climbing a couch, grabbing acatalogue from his sister, and looking out a window. Theonly words that Benny spoke are "Bram" and "Bow-wow"(p. 93).--53--Kelvin (Munro, "Circle of Prayer," 1986) Kelvin (no surname) is "fifty-two years old, stillslim and boyish-looking, well-shaved, with soft, short,clean dark hair" (p. 350). But the lamplight whitens hisbrown hair and makes him look bewildered, with a saggyface (p. 372).The story is set in a small Ontario town (p. 348).Kelvin chooses to live in a "House for the MentallyHandicapped," which is referred to as "'the Misses Weir'shouse,'" or the "Half-Wit House" (pp. 348, 350). Thereis a ramp for wheelchairs going into the house, and aswimming pool that does not work in the back yard(p. 348).The narrator refers to Kelvin's "gentle head fog"(p. 350). He has epilepsy, and has had surgery to hishead (p. 350).Kelvin's main relationships are with his housematesJosephine and Marie, and the caregivers Janet and Trudy.Kelvin is critical of his two housemates, Josephine andMarie, who ignore him. Trudy listens carefully to Kelvinwhen he talks about his feelings. Kelvin enjoys talkingto Trudy, who plays cards with him. Janet remarked "Iwouldn't hurt [Kelvin's] feelings for a million dollars"(p. 370).Some thoughtless men tease Kelvin about hisrelationship with Josephine and Marie. This disturbs--54--Kelvin who becomes depressed. He tells Trudy that "youthink they're your friend, but they're not" (p. 369).Kelvin is thoughtful and careful. He buys mugs forTrudy and Janet (p. 370), and he is concerned aboutknowing the meaning of prayer (p. 373). News of a girlkilled in a truck crash upsets him (p. 350). He likesliving at the house, and is interested in televisionshows about mental problems (p. 352). Kelvin likes toappear neat and well-dressed, and prefers his housematesto look tidy when they walk into town together. Thespectacle of his two housemates messing themselves withice-cream agitates Kelvin (p. 368).Some of Kelvin's daily activities include walkinginto town, watching TV, playing cards, and exchanginggossip about events in town. Kelvin cleans up the cansand bottles that are thrown into the front yard of thehouse (p. 350).Stella Bragg (Findley, "Bragg and Minna," 1988) Since there is so little description of Stella, thereader never gets to know her as a person. Other thanthe fact that Stella is born with six fingers on eachhand, and six toes on each foot, no other physicaldescription is given (p. 17).Stella's part in the story is small, but she is atthe centre of the conflict and tension. She is the "boneof contention" between Bragg and Minna (p. 13). Findley--55--writes, "the birth of the child had driven them apart"(p. 13).The doctor who delivered Stella claimed that Stellawas brain damaged (p. 18). He warned Stuart that Stellahad "half a brain" (p. 18). Stuart thought that Stellawas "doomed to be a baby all her life" (p. 19).In contrast to her father, Stella is deeply loved byher mother who carries her everywhere (p. 19). Justbefore Minna dies she places Stella with a family, Vivand Charlie Roeback, who love her, and are willing tomake her a part of their family.Minna's final request is that her ashes be scatteredamong the petroglyph figures carved into rocks on a hillin Australia. One of the petroglyph figures is anunusual child, like Stella. The figure seems to beproudly presenting its six-fingered hand for all theworld to see. The petroglyph child's parents are besideher in the picture. They appear to have made a box forher one short leg to rest on. The narrator describes thebox as "loving," and "forever visible" (p. 26).Stella's birth is long and painful. When Stella isborn, the doctor's warnings are ominous and disturbing.Stuart is unable to accept his child until after Minna'sdeath.Instead of congratulating Stuart that he and Minnahave a new baby girl, the doctor jolts Stuart with hisdescription of the baby (p. 17). He tells Stuart about--56--the fingers and toes. Then he talks about Stella being"doomed," and unable to recover (p. 18). The doctor'soffer to speak with Stuart pales beside the negativeforce of the doctor's description..The stone picture of the proud family who celebratetheir child by drawing themselves together changesStuart's mind, and he begins to appreciate his own child(p. 26). Stuart looks forward to bringing Stella to thehill where her mother's ashes are scattered (p. 26).--57--CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSIONA variety of terms are used to label characters as"mentally handicapped" or its equivalents. Often thelabels carry negative connotations. Tehmul Lungraa iscalled "empty shell," or "damaged head." Dolores Boyleand her classmates are described as "little idiots." DrNoah Noyes referred to Lotte as "anywhere between two andnil." Francis's grandfather referred to him as "pooridjit." Neddy Baker is introduced as "twenty-three yearsold with a mental age of five." John Gustav is "notguilty of thought."Only Kelvin is given awareness about how he isaffected by a devaluing label. Labelled characters aredescribed as passive and unknowing.Each of the characters are described as havingfriendly relationships with at least one other character.Most of the characters live within their families.Few of these characters have a significantrelationship outside their family. Francis has arelationship with his grandfather's servant (who is alsohis biological father), and Lotte becomes very trustingof Mrs Noyes.Generally, labelled characters are not presented ashaving their own thoughts and feelings. Of the six oldercharacters, only two (Tehmul and Francis) are depicted asinterested in sexual activity, but this in itself wascause for repugnance. Anger appears briefly--only two--58--adults are shown to be angry. Some of the charactersshow curiosity. Tehmul, JG, Benny, and Kelvin arecurious. Four characters (Lotte, Rowena, Tehmul, Kelvin)are depicted as fearful, but the fear appears todissipate quickly. Sorrow is evident, and so is joy.The labelled characters are able to make fewchoices. Tehmul and Kelvin had more choices than others;they were older males and did not live with theirparents. Some characters had no choice at all--and livedas virtual prisoners, like Francis. His lack of contactwith the community deprived him of an opportunity toexperience a wide range of activity, emotions, andchoices. Independent actions are generally depicted asharmful or dangerous. The choices made in behalf ofthese characters were often not helpful.None of the adult characters were married or hadchildren. Nor did they have a job--with the possibleexception of Tehmul, who collected pocket money fortaking rats to the municipality. School-age characterswere not depicted as going to school, except Dolores whoattended a school for children who are mentallyhandicapped.Labelled characters of working age were cast intonon-work-related roles. They were depicted ascomplications presented to family and community. All ofthe characters were depicted as dependent. They werelooked after, cared for, and supported by other people.--59--Two characters, Tehmul and Kelvin, were involved ina wider range of activities. The other characters wereseen to participate in limited activities.Only Francis and Neddy were in the care of serviceproviders. Francis was not helped by his doctor, andNeddy was mostly ignored by his nurse.Often, labelled characters in these examples ofCanadian fiction were youthful victims of caregiverinattention. Six characters died. Four of them werekilled in accidents caused by neglect.The asset shared by most of the labelled characterswas their capacity for being affectionate. Most of thecharacters were shown as loving and trusting.Kriegel (1982) noted the need to move away from aview of the person who is disabled as perhaps less thanhuman, as an ornament, toward a vision of labelled peopleas survivors in all their varied humanity, survivorsmaking choices every day of their very personal,individually challenging, and dignified lives (p.23).Persons labelled as disabled have been routinelyportrayed by the media as "dangerous" (Bogdan, Biklen,Shapiro, & Spelkoman, 1982, p. 32). Bogdan et al.pointed out that the image of Lennie Small as a dangerousperson in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is readilyapparent, as is the image of Lennie as deficit inintellectual ability (p. 32). Yet it can be observed--60--that Lennie is a productive worker. The question thatought to be asked is: What are Lennie's assets?Dexter (1964) pointed out that we need to stopteaching our children and each other "to abhor stupidity"(p. 38). Gartner (1982) wrote about how images in theArts reinforce how one engages with the world. Herecommended that we need to view labelled persons as"whole persons" (p. 15). We need expectations ofachievement, and expectations that a person with a mentaldisability is capable (p. 15).The study of characters labelled as mentallydisabled in non-didactic, Canadian literature isimportant because literature reflects the perceptions andpractises of the culture of which it is a part. Radicalchanges have been made in recent years in the thinkingabout persons with mental handicaps. Canadian literatureis not yet reflecting the new movement to develop fullpersonhood.--61--BIBLIOGRAPHY.Avison, M.^(1970). Snow. In G. Geddes, & P. Bruce(Eds.), 15 Canadian Poets (p. 129). Toronto: OxfordUniversity Press.Berkeley, H. (1985). Mental retardation as socialidentity. Phenomenology + Pedagogy, 3(1), 33-42.Biklen, D. (1987). The culture of policy: Disabilityimages and their analogues in public policy. PolicyStudies Journal, 15, 515-535.Blatt, B. (1981). In and out of mental retardation: Essays on educability, disability, and human policy.Baltimore: University Park Press.Blatt, B. (1984). On distorting reality to comprehenddistortion. Journal of Learning Disabilities,17, 627-628.Blatt, B.^(1985). Faith, science and disability.Journal of Learning Disabilities, 18, 122-123.Bogdan, R., Biklen, D., Shapiro, A., & Spelkoman, D.(1982). The disabled: media's monster. Social Policy, 13(2), 32-35.Bogdan, R., & Taylor, S. J. (1975). Introduction to qualitative research methods: A phenomenological approach to the social sciences. New York: JohnWiley & Sons.Bogdan, R., & Taylor, S. J.^(1982). Inside out: The social meaning of mental retardation. Toronto:University of Toronto Press.--62--Briton, J. (1977). Behaviour modification,normalization and person-orientedness. The•Australian Journal of Mental Retardation,4(8), 4-13.Dalziel, M.^(1990). Michael Dalziel. In K. M. Schwier(Ed.), Speakeasy (pp. 36-44). Austin: Pro-Ed.Davies, R. (1985). What's bred in the bone. New York:Viking.Davies, R. (1987, January). Keeping faith. SaturdayNight, pp. 187-192.Dexter, L. A. (1964). On the politics and sociology ofstupidity in our society. In H. S. Becker (ed.),The other side: Perspectives on deviance (pp. 37-49). New York: The Free Press.Dickey, J. (1982). Foreword. In M. Rioux & C.Crawford,Choices: The community living society: New methods of responding to the individual with a handicap (p. i). (Available from the Community LivingSociety, Suite 300, 5945 Kathleen Ave., Burnaby,British Columbia, Canada, V5H 4J7).Dybwad, G. (1968). Who are the mentally retarded?Children, 15(2), 43-48.Dybwad, G., & Dybwad, R. (1977, March). A personalizedsituation report: lifestyles of individuals withsevere intellectual deficits. International ChildWelfare Review, pp. 55-61.--63--Dybwad, G. (1982). The re-discovery of the family.Mental Retardation, 32, 18-30.Edgerton, R., B. (1984). The participant-observerapproach to research in mental retardation.American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 88, 498-505.Feldstein, R. (1986). Patterns of idiot consciousness.Literature and Psychology, 32(2), 10-19.Findley, T. (1977). The wars. Markham: Penguin.Findley, T. (1984). Hello cheeverland, goodbye. InDinner along the amazon. (pp.170-216). Markham:Penguin.Findley, T. (1984). 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The American Scholar, 38, 412-430.Kriegel, L. (1982). The wolf in the pit in the zoo.Social Policy, 13(2), 16-23.Kriegel, L. (1987). The cripple in literature. InGartner, A., & Joe, T. (Eds.), Images of the disabled, disabling images (pp. 31-46). New York:Praeger Publishers.Kroetsch, R. (1978). What the crow said. Don Mills:General Publishing Company Ltd.Levine, H. G., & Langness, L. L.^(Eds.).^(1986).Culture and retardation: Life histories of mildlymentally retarded persons in american society.Boston: D. Reidel Publishing Company.Longmore, P. K. (1985). A note on language and thesocial identity of disabled people. American Behavioral Scientist, 28, 419-423.McKnight, J. L. (1984). John Deere and the bereavementcounselor. Bulletin of Science and Technology,4, 597-604.--65--McKnight, J. L. (1987). Regenerating community. Social Policy, Winter, 54-58.Mesibov, G. (1976). Alternatives to the principle ofnormalization. Mental Retardation, 14(5), 30-32.Mistry, R. (1991). Such a long journey. 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