“Dziewczyna z szafy“ By Bodo Kox: Psychosocial Disability In The Poetics Of Magical Realism. 

Dorota Kołodziejczyk

The article discusses the problem of representation of disability as ameliorative space. Autism, because it most often plays the role of radical otherness in narrative forms such as film, novel, (auto)biography or border genres such as essay, as a disability determined by insufficient social and communication skills of the subject, represents, on the level of the plot, the riddle of the human mind. On the level of rhetoric, the riddle is realised as a problem of untranslatability – the mind of an autistic person cannot be reached, because there are no shared codes which would enable communication. The character with autism is either described from the outside or “translated” through the images of sensory distortions whose role is to approximate the condition. The article shows how the current changes in the Polish law relating to the integration of the disabled (education, elections regulations) are the direct corollary of a certain social attitude towards disability which can be defined as tolerance without recognition. This key ethical combination: tolerance only if grounded in recognition is recommended by Charles Taylor in his 1994 essay “The Politics of Recognition”. In an analysis of Bodo Kox film „Dziewczyna z szafy” [A Girl from the closet] (2012), the author shows how the rhetoric of magical realism opens up in the film an alternative space for autism and other psychosocial disabilities. This space reveals the deep incommensurability between the world of the norm and the world of disability and their hierarchical structuring, in which exclusion is the basic form of interaction. As alternative space, however, it shows also the deficits of the norm and reverses the hierarchy in which disability features as lack to show the opposite. It is, consequently, the space of ethical challenge for the norm.

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Porownania 21 2 2017 02 Kolodziejczyk [pdf] [272 KB]