Of the four readings that we did for today, the two in particular that really stood out to me was The Treatment of Bibi Haldar by Jhumpa Lahiri, and the assigned chapters of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee ,so I really wanted to talk about those for today’s discussion.
The Treatment of Bibi Haldar really stuck out to me because the title character, from the description given to us in the text, seems to not even have a physical or mental disability in the story. However, despite not having any physical disabilities and not being diagnosed with any mental disabilities, Bibi is treated as an outcast or a monster simply for being seen as different than the others. Throughout the text, Bibi is abused by her family, denied a marriage, forced to stay away from the other people in the house, forced to sleep in the basement, etc., allowing Lahiri to highlight the gross and fallacious ways that some abled people treat those viewed as disabled. However, the most interesting aspect of the story comes at the end when the baby “cures” Bibi, because at the beginning of the story, she is seen as unable to even care for herself, let alone another life. However, after she is left. alone by her family and gives birth to her baby, Bibi is able to take hold of and get her life together, against the popular belief of the community. The story not only gives meta commentary on disability and how disabled individuals are seen and treated in the community, but by giving Bibi that ending, the story also highlights the strengths of people in scenarios such as these.
While I may be incorrect tin the assumption that Bibi does not actually have a disability, I, first of all am not in any position to tell someone whether or not they are disabled, but second of all, I feel that it can also be left to interpretation. However, I feel as though regardless of the answer, Lahiri is able to portray the themes and messages of the the story to readers. That being said though, I would love to hear some other people’s thoughts on the story and what they thought Lahiri was trying to say.
The second reading that really stuck with me for today was the assigned chapters for To Kill A Mockingbird. I feel as though in a way, these chapters of the book were what a lot of readers, myself included, waiting for. We finally get introduced to the mysterious, disabled, hidden-away, Boo Radley, and he’s…
just like any other character in the book. His appearance in these pages is shorter than expected and he isn’t explored as much as I wanted him to be, but I’ve come to realize, that’s the beauty of it all. Boo’s is treated just as another side character in the book, essentially providing Lee’s meta commentary that these individuals who society deems as different or disabled are just like any other people. There’s so much beauty in the simplicity that is Boo Radley and how he is handled in the book and I loved that.
I’d love to hear how other felt and reacted to his character when they read these parts!