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“Poor girl!” : Feminism, Disability and the Other in Ulysses

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Title: “Poor girl!” : Feminism, Disability and the Other in Ulysses
Author: Flaherty, Patricia
Advisor: Sherman, Deborah
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of English
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Running Time: 108070 bytes78854 bytes
Issue Date: 2006
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine Gerty MacDowell in Nausicaa, Chapter 13 of James Joyces Ulysses, and how her overwhelming femininity affects her disability, and how that conflation of femininity and disability largely engages feminist disability theory. Gerty MacDowell prides herself on the active sexualizing of her own body. In the interaction between Bloom and Gerty, disability is recognized textually as her link to humanity. In recognizing Gerty's disability, Bloom is able to recognize as well as reflect on his own disabilities albeit figurative but still very integral in the way he views himself. By recognizing that disabilities are part of all human lives, Ulysses promotes a theory of disability studies that is extremely positive and helps to break down the stigmatizing of the disabled. Gerty's disability also helps further an argument relating not to disability, but rather to human imperfection. We come into contact with many transgressions on the part of the characters, and Gerty's disability reminds the narrative that disabilities/mistakes/transgressions are part of what it is to be human. This recognition helps ideas regarding disabilities in a way that promotes a more realistic idea about the body and makes the unrealistic and damaging ideal body untenable.
Subject: Joyce, James, 1882-1941 -- Criticism and interpretation
Subject: Joyce, James, 1882-1941. Ulysses
Subject: Feminism in literature
Subject: Women with disabilities in literature
Subject: Sex in literature
Subject: Other (Philosophy) in literature
Access Restrictions: Open Access
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Flaherty, Patricia. "“Poor girl!” : Feminism, Disability and the Other in Ulysses". 2006. Available electronically from

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