Extra reflection paper

Our privilege blinds us to see the reality of others, it creates a wall that cuts us off from showing true empathy. All we are left to show is pity and happiness that that isn’t our situation. In A Thousand Splendid Suns there was a lot of diversity in different types of privilege. I took note of my privilege, because of my own past. I grew up in a rural village in Mexico. Many of my cousins, including my mother, married at a young age, had children while they themselves were still children, and married men older and less kind the they themselves.

While I try to stay aware that not everyone lives in a society where women have more rights about their bodies and support systems, at times I fail and fall behind that wall. I know that at times, I think to myself that they could do so much more than just have children. Sometime I truly believe that they could just walk out and live their lives as strong independent women. After reading this book, I feel like I saw my privilege for what it was. I got angry with myself for feeling pity and frustration at Mariam’s and Laila’s hard life. It was not that I thought these women were weak, I saw their strength in fighting to maintain some sense of normality during a time of war for their children and themselves. I cried during the escape chapter and admired their intelligence for coming up with their plan. My mom did not have an escape as tough as Mariam’s and Laila’s, but it did parallel a lot. I was a child when it happened, so I don’t remember much about it, but now I feel like I have a greater respect for my mother. My realization was partly on a level as Mariam’s when she realized all her mother did and why her mother hated her father so much.

Because of my privilege I can’t imagine myself letting a man take my future, but in these book it was so common. “A dry, barren field, out beyond wish and lament, beyond dream and disillusionment. There, the future did not matter”, Mariam is thinking about her life and it seems so empty (Hosseini, 256). But, through her husband’s eyes she lives the life other women would kill for. Through the “eyes” this book provided me with I can see the imaginary world that is the norm for others. The importance of diversity is to show those who live a bubble the rest of the world, so they can have a greater understanding of it, this book accomplished that.

Hosseini, Khaled. A Thousand Splendid Suns. Riverhead Books, 2007.

A Day of Disability: Raymond Carver’s Cathedral

In Raymond Carver’s Cathedral, a fear reinforced by stereotypes and the unknown prompts the husband of the blind man’s ex-caretaker to be bothered by the blind man’s arrival. Due to his lack of interaction with blind individuals, the husband’s perception and fear of the blind was unjustified. He was bothered by the blind because in movies, “the blind moved slowly and never laughed” (Carver 1). These preconceived judgments only lessened his enthusiasm towards meeting his wife’s friend, demonstrating how the unfair portrayal of the blind in movies can procure false images of people with physical impairments in viewers’ minds. If the wife had not forced her husband to meet her blind friend, Robert, her husband would continue to remain fearful of the blind due to his ignorance. The author, Raymond Carver, creates this story and highlights Robert’s strengths in order to confront the prejudices against the blind and demonstrate that those with this disability are misunderstood.

The husband’s lack of interaction with the blind causes him to be surprised upon Robert’s arrival.  Since the husband had never met a blind person, he was surprised to find Robert without dark glasses. According to the husband, he “had always thought glasses were a must for the blind” (5) due to its prominence in the media. Furthermore, the husband continues to be shocked by Robert when he sees him smoking a cigarette and finding his food on his plate. The husband had read that the blind did not smoke because they “couldn’t see the smoke they exhaled” (6), but clearly this was not the case. Robert smoked like any other man, despite his disability. Throughout the narrative, Robert’s preconceived views of the blind are continuously challenged by Robert’s actions. Robert is blind, but that does not stop him from drinking, smoking, falling in love, and participating in activities that other individuals engage in on a daily basis. The author creates Robert in order to challenge the flawed views some individuals have of the blind and to reassure readers that those who are blind function and go through life like everyone else.

In the narrative, the Robert is not feminized nor infantilized. The author strategically creates Robert this way so that Robert does not seem inferior to the other characters in the narrative. Despite the fact that Robert is blind and cannot read, see food in front of him, or watch TV, the author does not focus on the obstacles he faces. Instead, the author highlights the actions Robert is capable of and his ability to learn despite these setbacks. Robert may be unable to see the cathedral that his ex-caretaker’s husband describes, but this serves an impetus for him to learn about it and try to imagine what it looks like. By holding the husband’s hand while he draws a cathedral, he is able to almost visualize a cathedral through these motions. If the author had constructed a blind character that let his disability negatively affect him, the husband’s imperfect views of the blind would have been confirmed, Robert would have been portrayed like one of the blind people in the movies, and he would have been pitied by the characters in the narrative. However, by creating a character that is willing to learn despite his disability, it serves as a way to demonstrate that the blind will do anything to view the world as much as others do. Robert may not be able to physically see a cathedral, but it does not mean he can’t understand what it looks like. Robert’s character ultimately demonstrates that the prejudices that the blind are subject to in the media are not accurate representations of the blind. By confronting these stereotypes, Robert is able to show individuals that blind people are just like those around them and that they use their body to their full potential, even if they do not have full capacity of their vision.


Carver, Raymond. Cathedral. 1981, http://www.giuliotortello.it/ebook/cathedral.pdf. Accessed 13 Apr 2018.

Disability short reflection

Raymond Carver’s Cathedral is told through the first-person-perspective of our narrator. In the beginning, he has misconceptions about the blind, but as the story progresses he slowly “opens his eyes”.

The narrator starts off with describing his apprehension towards the blind man who would be visiting. He is antagonistic towards the idea of a stranger living in his house. The stranger being blind only makes the unknown seem even more unknown. However, our narrator warms up to Robert as he feels pity for him and tries to make him feel more comfortable.

In the story, the narrator’s pity for Robert comes from two main sources: his blindness and his recent wife’s death. These two factors together seems to intensify his pity for Robert. Perhaps influenced by his wife’s actions (in that she wants Robert to be as comfortable as possible), our narrator also tries his best to accommodate the blind man.

[insert paragraph]

The narrator’s lack of understanding of the blind is reflected in his relationship with his wife (when he says that he doesn’t understand her poetry). Yet, at the end of the short story, we see that he opens up Robert. Perhaps after this our narrator can also improve his relationship with his wife. If we were to draw conclusions from this, it would be that meeting new people and getting to know them might help our other relationships too.

The narrator admits that his impressions of blindness mainly comes from watching movies. On the other hand, his wife maintains correspondence with a blind person through listening and recording tapes. These are two very different mediums of communication that form distinct understandings of blindness, much like the difference between a black-and-white TV and a color TV.

Later, the narrator attempts to describe a cathedral using words but finds difficulty doing so. He seems much more comfortable drawing it with Robert though, even if he is not a good artist. This is because the best way to communicate is through direct contact. Which is how most blinds get around the world. The narrator begins to feel the connection with Robert when he starts drawing blind. (and then our narrator will divorce his wife for Robert. a true love story.)

All in all, this short story is about a disgruntled man who opens up. I forgot to analyze the disability which was supposed to be the point of this reflection. The blind man is introduced as a love interest to our narrator. I forgot

Day of Disability

Until I spent two days like I was in a wheelchair did I understand just how difficult and inconvenient it was to get around campus. I have seen students in wheelchairs and had some in my classes, so I was surprised just how difficult it is to get places. For one, I tend to take the bus since it’s convenient; however, that’s where the first problem arises. The buses don’t have any wheelchair access, at least not the U and RU, so the bus is no longer an option. The next problem is actually getting into classes. Most of the wheelchair accessible entrances are not immediately seen. In fact, most are on the sides or back of buildings. This is true for both Howell and Bingham. But getting into Phillips is probably the most annoying. You can either go in through Chapman and take the bridge to Phillips and take the elevators or you can take the ramp that is hidden on the side of Phillips. Once through that door, you then have to take an elevator to get to the classrooms. Getting into Murray is probably the easiest since you can just enter through the doors and stay at the back of the room or take an elevator down to the first floor and get in that way. Although the doors at the top are not automated with a wheelchair button. Again, since I’m not actually in a wheelchair I don’t know if it is easy to open up a normal door, but I feel like it requires some finesse and wouldn’t be easy. That is why automated doors are the next big problem. While there might be entrances that don’t require stairs, some of the doors are not automated with a wheelchair accessible button. This is the biggest problem for Hinton James, in fact, you couldn’t live in Hinton James if you were in a wheelchair. First off, the only way to enter the building is to go around the side and use one of the doors to enter into the lobby and take the elevator up. But getting to the elevators requires going through at least two doors, none of which are automated. Finally, I wouldn’t even be able to use the bathroom since there is a step to enter the bathroom. Now, when it comes to eating, Chase is on the ground floor and no stairs are required. Lenoir isn’t that bad since there is an elevator in the back but it’s still not that convenient since you can only enter through the back. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen someone with a wheelchair in Chase or Lenoir and now that I’m aware of what actually is wheelchair accessible I can see why.

It just seems odd to me that a lot of buildings are either not accessible or have poor accessibility, considering I do see at least one person a day in a wheelchair. It makes getting to class more of a hassle and you really have to plan out your route. Only after looking at the disability map did I even realize that some buildings had elevators or ramps since I had never seen them before. Doing this opened my eyes to how the age of this campus makes it hard for much-needed innovations to be made. The fact that most of the campus is not accessible for people with disabilities shows that it’s not a priority to the campus, even though there are students that it affects. Especially in this day and age, it seems that a school would be conscious of how they affect their student’s ability to learn. I’m sure if everyone did this exercise some changes would be made; because otherwise, it is easy for people to ignore something when it doesn’t affect them personally.


Disabilities are restrictive and limiting. Entire elements of events can be missed depending on the impairment that is reality. In Ambrose Bierce’s Chicamagua, a little boy’s entire life is completely altered and he has no clue that any of it is going on until he stumbles upon his mother. Bierce does a fantastic job of portraying the boy as just a normal child, out playing by the river and interacting with animals.

When the boy sees the men, he hurries to the front of their weak and struggling pack to be their strong leader. Because of his age, he is naïve to the true nature of what is happening. Bierce managed to avoid identifying any impairment until the very end. The entire time, the child seems to be nothing more than a little boy who is enjoying “playing war” and leading his men. He laughs at them struggling along and compares their faces, covered in blood, to the clowns that he saw at the circus. He is missing a large part of the context that is going on. Perhaps his cluelessness would’ve been lessened if he had been able to hear the events that had occurred during his nap, but due to his deafness, there was no opportunity for this supplemental information.

The acknowledgement of his disability brought to light the reality of the situation. If he had the ability to hear, he would have heard the gunshots that had occurred right by him and, because he is a little boy, gone home to his mother. This might have led to him communicating to her what was occurring nearby and led to a decision to leave the area for safety purposes. Unfortunately, the reality of the war was unbeknownst to the boy, and thus he had no idea that there were any guns being fired. The discovery of his mother was completely unexpected – he was wandering toward the fire excitedly because it fascinated him. It seemed throughout the story that his major impairment was simply that he was a child and unaware of the harsh realities of the war, but the reveal of his physical impairment brought to light the true reason behind his naïve nature.

The outcome of his mother’s story causes me to wonder if he was in fact able to hear, if she might have survived. With that being considered, did his deafness and his disability evidently have the ultimate negative impact on those who loved him?

Jared Floyd – Post 4 A Day of Disability

“My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit as well as physically.” This quote was once proclaimed by the late Stephen Hawking who was diagnosed with ALS at an early age. Even though Hawking had a degenerative disease that caused physical impairments, he was still able to make a significant impact on the world and our knowledge of theoretical physics.  Within “Chickamauga: A Short Story”, Ambrose Bierce comments on the life of a person with disabilities in a war infused society. In addition, Ambrose Bierce utilizes this story to expose and refute society’s negative view of people with disabilities.

Throughout the story, the author hints that the main character has a disability; however, not till the end are the readers formally informed that the child is a deaf mute.  As seen in the first few sentences of the short story, a child is introduced into the story who has escaped his home and is wandering through the forest. The author’s syntax suggests that the boy’s adventure is one of the first times that he has ventured outside of the confines of his abode. Immediately, the imagination of the child takes over as he lives out the alternative reality that inhabits in his mind. At this point in the story, Ambrose Bierce reveals the need of positivity and imagination for people with disabilities to live a full and happy life due to the everyday hardships they may face.

As the story progresses, the boy’s character is constructed in a way that focuses on his childhood and not his disabilities. The invisibility of the boy’s disabilities demonstrates that people are not defined by their disabilities and can offer a significant impact on society. By revealing the disability at the end of the story, the readers blame the boy’s ignorant acts on his age such as when he tried to ride one of the injured soldiers like a horse. If the author would have disclosed the child’s disability in the beginning of the story, the readers would have made assumption that his disability caused his lack of responsibility and social differences. Ambrose Bierce intentionally does not reveal the disability of the child in order to expose societies innate negative view of people with disabilities.

Throughout history, people with disabilities have been seen as societal burdens; however, Bierce uses this story to demonstrate the importance of people with disabilities. By basing the story around a boy who is both mute and deaf, Bierce subtly illustrates that people with disabilities can be the foundation of people’s lives. In this story, when the child was lost, his mother is heartbroken not relieved that her son is gone. Whenever the boy leaves the home, he returns to find his mother dead and his house burned to the ground. This is symbolic to how the child was the foundation of his family and not merely the burden which society may claim. People with disabilities are humans who show an incredible amount of strength during difficult times. As a society, it is necessary to fight the urge to label people as “normal” or “different” because people with “differences” can be the foundation of many social structures.






Molly Cartwright


The dichotomy of portraying women as either angel or monster is present in many works of literature, including Snow White and Jane Eyre. This categorization of the female existence is a patriarchal means to exploit and silence women. In Jean Rhys’s The Wide Sargasso Sea, the supposedly monstrous woman comes in the form of the “mad woman” from Jane Eyre. Although Rhys’s novel portrays a woman as mentally unstable, it diverges from “Snow White” and Jane Eyre because it offers the “monster’s” side of the story and justifies her condition.

In the story of “Snow White”, women are portrayed as either pure or heinous to encourage patriarchal standards of women; the woman portrayed as monstrous even carried the word “evil” in her name. The Evil Queen is a devious woman who plots to kill Snow White out of jealousy for her beauty; she is assertive, and the primary instigator of action in the story. Matching up these traits with an evil woman encourages a patriarchal agenda. The untouched woman in this story is the passive, beautiful, complacent Snow White who lays dead in a coffin as an object of desire for the prince during the main plot to this story. This objectification of Snow White at once dehumanizes her body and glorifies it, thus encouraging women and girls who read this story to imitate this deadening of a vibrant life. The women who attune themselves to patriarchal standards are raised up as pure while those who do not conform to expectation set forth by a male-dominated culture are portrayed as evil.

In Jane Eyre, this angel and monster juxtaposition presents itself in the form of Jane and Bertha. Bertha is the “mad women in the attic”. She is fiery, passionate, and violent, and she is secretly Rochester’s wife. In contrast, Jane is calm, cool, and collected in regards to nearly everything. She is the replacement for a “failed” wife, a new and improved version who does not have outbursts or fits of madness. Jane was indeed progressive in her approaches to love and marriage, but her overall more feminine and favorable nature was what led Rochester to love her over his own wife. While Rochester did have a logical grievance about being tricked into marriage with Bertha, her madness is used as a silencing tool in this novel, rather than an attempt to bring visibility to women struggling with mental health. Bertha has no voice throughout the novel, and she is only allowed to communicate by making animal-like grunts. It is dehumanizing to obliterate this character’s voice, and oppressive to label her mad as the result. She is refused a chance to explain her “madness,” nor are any attempts to understand her made.

The Wide Sargasso Sea responds to the erased voice of the mad women in Jane Eyre by explaining the life of Bertha, whose given name was Antoinette. This novel shows how women are exploited through labels of madness while also sharing the voices of these women as a way to understand their madness. Jean Rhys describes Antoinette’s childhood that involved her brother’s death, the loss of her mother’s sanity, and the towns hatred towards her. These traumatic childhood events move her towards the symptoms of madness. The novel then hints that Rochester, her husband, seems to push her over the edge into full insanity. He becomes very distant to her after receiving hateful letters about her and doesn’t believe her explanations about the rumors he hears. He then sleeps with their servant right next to her while she could hear. He attempts to change her identity to be more English by calling her Bertha. Rochester even makes her despise the one thing she has ever truly loved: the island. He also traps her in his attic with the intention to make her miserable rather than divorcing. This novel shows the steps leading to Antoinette’s madness and even shows Rochester’s own madness. Rochester helped lead her into madness and exploited her for her money. Antoinette’s mother is another example of a women driven to madness and exploited with that label by men. Her mother warned her husband that they had to leave the island for their safety but he wouldn’t listen. This resulted in her parrot and son’s death. She became intensely heartbroken and lost. She was put into care for her mental instability and it is hinted that she is raped by her caretakers. This woman went mad with the help of men who didn’t listen and sexually assaulted her. This novel is unique because it gives the reader a look into the life of Bertha, a woman who was dismissed as crazy and denied a chance to justify her madness. It depicts the same portrayal of mad women seen in Snow White and Jane Eyre but it gives these “mad women” a voice to tell their stories. This voice revealed the injustices that drove them to madness.

Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea contains labeling of mad women as almost inhuman parallel to “Snow White” and Jane Eyre. Even as the Evil Queen in “Snow White” is given a voice, the only words she spits out are laced with hatred or beguilement. However, Rhys’s novel provides a full-bodied version of the oft-denied voice of this perceived other. A voice that tells a story about hardships and injustices practiced against them. A voice that explains that the very men dismissing them as mad are the ones responsible for their madness; Antoinette mourns the life lost to atrocities committed against her, and is still dismissed by her society. The women in “Snow White” and Jane Eyre are puppets in a patriarchal agenda to convince female readers that deviance from the norm will earn them no love, and both the pure and the monstrous are tools used to manipulate women, or are written by women manipulated by this oppression. Jean Rhys does not shy away from stripping the layers back off this abuse to reveal the imperfect insides that all women possess, the beauty that comes with being fully human and female.


Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Peterborough, Ont: Broadview Press, 1999. Print.

Grant-Schaefer, G. A. (George Alfred), 1872-1939. “Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs : an Operetta in Three Acts, Based on Grimm Brothers’ Tale.” 1938: n. pag. Print.

Rhys, Jean, Judith L. Raiskin, and Charlotte Brontë. Wide Sargasso Sea. New York: W.W. Norton, 1999.