With her poem “The Right To Mourn,” author Shelia Black introduces the idea that becoming “able” is almost a loss. Using lines such as “and I loved it as you love your own country” and “how I would have nested in it,” Black speaks on the idea that regardless of whether or not someone’s body is different, what is most important is that the individual is comfortable in it. Black mentions that she had doctors straighten her legs because society made her “feel like the exile” she believed she was. But Black immediately follows this up by saying she feels lost in her new “fixed” body. This ferocious comparison allows Black to shed light on the main idea she is presenting to readers, that individuals with a disability should not fall victim to the judgements of society, and that if they are comfortable and feel satisfied with themselves, that’s what matters, because when you change who you are to please someone else, you’re ultimately becoming a stranger to yourself.
One thought on “Zachary Welsh’s Thoughts on Sheila Black’s “The Right To Mourn””
Hey Zachary! I totally agree with your take on Black’s poem. I was reminded about many of the theorists’ papers we have read this semester and the obvious connections between the assimilation of immigrants to the concept of “straightening” the disabled. I also found the choice of the word “straighten,” to be interesting. In keeping in mind double meanings, I thought about the different uses, like the idea of “straightening” out criminals, or even conversion “therapy.” This idea that straight automatically means right is a concept that’s old and outdated, and it stands to be criticized, as Black has done here.