Stephanie Rogers Long Paper Outline

Sickness and Grieving in The Kitchen God’s Wife, The House on Mango Street and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close


The disease as a representation of the negativity and strain on relationships. They seem to result and worsen from disunity in families and friendships and the disease also seems to harm the bonds and roles people play in the family or in the world. Puts up barriers with the outside world. Redefines the sense of self and the way communication operates.

The House on Mango Street —pg 59, 60, 61

  • “But I think diseases have no eyes. They pick with a dizzy finger anyone, just anyone.”
    • Irony — Diseases have no eyes, in this case her aunt also goes blind — the disease recreates its own failings in the human
    • Contrasts the title of the vignette which is “born bad”, goes against predeterminism or that disease is not necessarily linked to evil
  • “We didn’t know she had been dying for such a long time we forgot. Maybe she was ashamed. Maybe she was embarrassed it took so many years. The kids who wanted to be kids instead of ironing their papa’s shirt, and the husband who wanted a wife again.”
    • Disease becomes the person so much that it makes you forget the process of dying, expect death to be something everyone is prepared for, but people are still not prepared
    • The sickly must hide themselves from their loved ones. They lose their familial and relational associations. Only becoming the sick one in the relation to the family. Disrupt the family unit to make everyone inherit new roles. Puts a strain on everyone else’s existence.
  • “And then she died, my aunt who listened to my poems. And then we began to dream the dreams.”
    • With her death, there is a final moving on from the disease. Dreams can only be dreamt once the illness is lost. Because now the person before and the person without the disease has to be replaced in the memories of the living. Dreams= a reimagining of life. A reimagining of the disease. A reimagining of the relational.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close — pg 90

  • In Oscar’s pursuit to find the memory of his dead father, the first person by the name of Black he meets is Aaron Black, a man on the ninth floor who at first sounds like he wants nothing to do with Oskar. But by the end of the conversation, we find out that Aaron Black is actually a sickly man.
  • “But I just can’t.” “Why not?” “I’m very sick.” “But my dad is dead.” “I’m hooked up to all sorts of machines. That’s why it took me so long to come to the intercom.”
    • As a sickly man, he is facing the idea of death once again.
    • Oskar’s father never experienced that sickness.
    • Sickness is a barrier for connection.
      • Limits on mobility
      • Should not have limits on emotional connection
        • Unfortunately there are such limits to connection
        • Unable to attend play
        • Wants to help Oskar but Oskar doesn’t even reply to his own yell for help

How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent pg 84

  • Mental health disorders as a form of disease
  • With Yolanda’s allergic reaction to her own name, the psychosis is no longer a fake immune reaction, it is an autoimmune reaction.
    • “Oh no. she thinks recognizing the first signs of her allergy. Noy my own name!”
  • Sandi’s psychosis
    • Anorexia, the disappearance and withering of the body, mirrors the withering of the mind

The Kitchen God’s Wife

  • Multiple Sclerosis
    • Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.
    • How does this disease mirror her relationship with her mother?
    • The unpredictability, the disrupted flow of information. — highlight initial feelings with mother.
    • Use the death scene with the professional mourners?

Comments are closed.