The Construction of Otherness in the Identity of Conjoined Twins in Darin Strauss’s Chang and Eng

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Abstract

This research article is aimed at studying the construction of otherness in the identity of conjoined twins in the novel Chang and Eng by Darin Strauss through Disability Paradigms. By analyzing thoughts, actions, and the relationship between a disabled protagonist and other able-bodied characters, the study reveals that
Strauss’s novel presents the otherness in the identity of conjoined twins as the result of defining the conjoined twins’ bodies through the symbolic and medical paradigms of disability, which presents the identity of conjoined twin as the representation of a symbol of evil and a disorder that needs to be treated. This research article presents an analysis of the thoughts of the protagonist Eng Bunker, conjoined twins, and his interactions with other characters who have normative bodies, which reveal the effects of viewing disabled bodies through those paradigms toward the identity of conjoined twins. This research article argues that Strauss’s novel criticizes the viewings of the conjoined twins’ bodies through those paradigms which stigmatize and marginalize those who do not possess standardized bodies as well as render the negative attitude toward their own bodies that leads to the attempt to “cure” and normalize them.

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