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The ‘Dys-Appearing’ Body in Doris Lessing’s The Diary of a Good Neighbour and Margaret Forster’s Have the Men Had Enough?

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Author(s): Maricel Oró-Piqueras

Journal: Societies
ISSN 2075-4698

Volume: 2;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 270;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: disappearing body | illness | ageing process | contemporary fiction

ABSTRACT
If the old body is usually read as a synonym of fragility and upcoming illness, even though not the case for most elderly citizens, the reality is that the longer we live, the increased probability of being affected by different illnesses cannot be eluded or denied. In Doris Lessing’s The Diary of a Good Neighbour and Margaret Forster’s Have the Men Had Enough? the reader is invited to participate in the day-to-day routines of two aged female protagonists, as well as to empathize with their inner feelings as they go through their last life stage. In fact, their ‘dys-appearing’ bodies, marked by their respective terminal illnesses, force these characters to grow closer to those around them and to accept the help of their families and friends, despite their desire to keep their free will and independence until the very end. The analysis of the two novels within the framework of ageing studies aims to show the contradictions existing between a growing ageing society and the negative cultural connotations of old age in Western society and the need to revise them.
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