Guy de Maupassant, Louisa May Alcott and youth at risk : lessons from the new paradigm of disability
This article reads two late nineteenth century short stories - one by Guy de Maupassant and the other by Louisa May Alcott - through the interpretive framework of Critical Disability Studies. It contrasts the traditional view of disability as a deficit or pathology that befalls certain unfortunate individuals with a newer one that understands it much like gender, race, and social class. Both stories reveal much more about sighted people's fears than they do about blindness. Ultimately, this method of reading historically says much about forces such as national identity, capitalism, philanthropy, gender roles, social class, and the complex relationship each has to the troubled concept of modernity that emerged in both France and the United States.