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Item(Re)defining recovery: exploring poetry as a therapeutic tool in recovery from severe mood episodes and associated suicide attempts in bipolar disorderLacey, Felicity ( 2020)The critical component of this thesis explores the value of poetry as a therapeutic tool in recovery from severe mood episodes and associated suicide attempts in individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Through literary analysis of Shira Erlichman’s Odes to Lithium and Jeanann Verlee’s Said the Manic to the Muse, I suggest that poetry allows a therapeutic space for dynamic reclamation of subjective narrative experiences of bipolar disorder from the medical discourse. Poetic devices such as personification and juxtaposition support the decentralisation of narrative in the subjective dialectic, thus creating scope for the productive tolerance of polarities, fragmentation and disorder. In doing so, poetry can facilitate emotional healing whilst eschewing redemptive narrative arcs. This provides valuable alternate readings and renderings of ‘recovery’ as part of an ongoing management of chronic mental illness which prioritises the experiential perspective, and thereby posits poetic process as a dynamic therapeutic tool in bipolar and attempted suicide contexts. The creative component of this thesis is a collection of poetry exploring my own recovery.
ItemExtreme males: autistic masculinity in three bestsellersKelly, Peter ( 2015)Inspired by Simon Baron-Cohen’s theory that autism can be understood as an extreme version of typical male behaviour, this thesis will examine whether this view is reflected in the representation of autistic males in best-selling fiction (“Extreme Male Brain” 248). It will investigate autism representations in the context of hegemonic masculinity, by comparing the behaviour of Christopher Boone from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Jacob Hunt from House Rules, and Don Tillman from The Rosie Project to Linda Lindsey’s masculinity norms. These include anti-femininity, emotional reticence, success, intelligence, toughness, aggressiveness and an obsessive heterosexuality (Lindsey 241-7). While Christopher's surprising violence, extreme intelligence, insensitivity and stubbornness are masculine traits, his asexuality disqualifies him from being an extreme male. Jacob’s masculinity is shown in his aggressiveness, intellect and physique, but is undermined by his ambiguous sexuality and patchy career history. Don’s physical appearance, heterosexuality, stoic attitude and intellect are all masculine qualities, unlike his need for social guidance and apparent virginity at the novel’s beginning. All three characters are white and compensate for a lack of emotional awareness with hyper-rationality. Their paradoxical masculinity may account for their novels’ success. This thesis finds that these three fictional autistics are not extreme males by the standards of hegemonic masculinity.