*Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals
*Rachel Pearson, No Acute Distress (pgs 164-204)
What strikes you about cancer narratives in comparison to other illness or disability narratives? Identify what can be problematic about societal narratives of cancer.
After reviewing the final project and the final project proposal due to next week, we began a discussion about cancer narratives. We built on the themes discussed in the weekly posts to reflect on what is unique and different about cancer narratives compared to some of the other narratives we have read this semester, such as disability narratives and other illness narratives. Our conversation touched upon themes of fear, mortality, disability/normalcy, life after cancer, uncertainty/unknown, prognosis. We ponded what stories we tell as a society about cancer and what stories and experiences go left untold. We imagined the implications of how society narrates cancer, and how these narratives might impact people with cancer.
We then explored the medium of graphic medicine, or comic art, to understand cancer narratives through a different lens. In groups of two, we looked at various excerpts from some of the most well-known cancer graphic memoirs such as Marisa Marchetto’s Cancer Vixen, Miriam Engelberg’s Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person, Brian Fies’ Mom’s Cancer. We observed how the addition of imagery in combination with text created a different dimension to these stories and shared different kinds of emotion through the multiple layers that go into comic art.
Last but not least, we experimented with creating our own graphic art to tell a story of cancer- either based on a reading or a personal experience. It was interesting to create through a different lens than writing since writing is a form of expression that our society is far more accustomed to using. Through the art incorporated into graphic medicine, we had the opportunity to experience something different from traditional written narratives.