Still Playing It Safe

A Comparative Analysis of Disability Narratives in The Sessions, Breathing Lessons and “On Seeing a Sex Surrogate”

Authored by: Jonathan Bartholomy

The Routledge Companion to Disability and Media

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138884588
eBook ISBN: 9781315716008
Adobe ISBN:


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Mark O’Brien is an important personality in the area of disability media. His life has been presented in many different ways through different mediums. This chapter is a comparative piece about The Sessions, Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien and “On Seeing a Sex Surrogate,” examining the narratives about disability that are utilized in each. The author argues that while these works give attention to disability experiences not often acknowledged, they still sustain hegemonic narratives about disability. This chapter examines instances in each work and how they “fall in line,” emphasizing common ideas connected to disability narratives.

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