The Down Syndrome novel

A microcosm for inclusion or parental trauma narrative

Authored by: Sarah Kanake

The Routledge Handbook of Disability Arts, Culture, and Media

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9780815368410
eBook ISBN: 9781351254687
Adobe ISBN:


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In this chapter, I investigate recurrent themes and tropes in the ‘Down Syndrome novel’ and explore how they privilege mother/child relations to the exclusion of broader, more inclusive representations of Down syndrome. Significant narrative presence requires active agency by the characters, sophisticated representation of identity, and/or a primary narrative voice, but the Down Syndrome novel relies on Down syndrome being presented as an issue or trauma, generally experienced by the mother, and not the life of the disabled character themselves.

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