Note: No disrespect is intended to actual victims of swine flu or other real illnesses. This is about illness as metaphor in fiction.

Thoughts to ponder:

Is there any relationship, either direct or by similarity, between modern hurt-comfort and Victorian fictional illness fetishization?

What is the most current manifestation of illness as metaphor? Do tragically sensitive and artistic characters still always die of heart disease, cancer, leukemia, and/or AIDS, or is there a new preferred disease?

Remember all those YA novels where someone always died of cancer (or occasionally drowning or bee sting) by the end? Are current YA novels less death-laden?

What is the most cracktastic anime/manga/romance illness?

[Poll #1392575]
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ext_3319: Goth girl outfit (Default)

From: [identity profile] rikibeth.livejournal.com


Something my best friend and I wrote, a gastrointestinal bug leading to lovely hurt/comfort caretaking and an eventual romance.

From: [identity profile] vom-marlowe.livejournal.com


I was named for Beth in Little Women. I thought that was great until I read the book and I ran to my mom and I said, "You named me after the one who died?!?!" My mom maintains that Beth was the best character.

From: [identity profile] faithhopetricks.livejournal.com


//FACEDESK

Man, and I thought it was bad being named after the actress who portrayed the ballerina who threw herself under the train in the trippy movie. At least they didn't name me after THE BALLERINA.

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From: [identity profile] vom-marlowe.livejournal.com - Date: 2009-04-30 08:13 pm (UTC) - Expand

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From: [identity profile] lady-ganesh.livejournal.com - Date: 2009-05-01 01:38 am (UTC) - Expand

From: [identity profile] anachred.livejournal.com


Death is still big in the literary award-winner YA books. Kira-Kira, for example, is a recent book featuring a dying sister. Leukemia, too.

But I try not to read too many of those...

From: [identity profile] faithhopetricks.livejournal.com


Aww The Stand! I morbidly reread it during flu pandemics. T threatened to hide it from me this time, because I was freaking out so bad about the swine/avian/whateveritis flu.
ext_3319: Goth girl outfit (Default)

From: [identity profile] rikibeth.livejournal.com


Original or expanded? I love them both, and I can see King wanting to put The Kid back in, but I still think I like the original, edited version better.

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From: [identity profile] faithhopetricks.livejournal.com - Date: 2009-05-01 08:11 pm (UTC) - Expand

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From: [identity profile] rikibeth.livejournal.com - Date: 2009-05-01 08:46 pm (UTC) - Expand

From: [identity profile] tonapah.livejournal.com


I went with Katie and her temporary post-swing paralysis because it made her so perfect (like her perfect wheelchair-bound cousin Helen). She can't walk, but wow, can she run a household, mother her siblings, organize parties and holidays, and take on a never-complaining attitude about her suffering! That book really made it seem like getting paralyzed was the best thing that could happen to a young girl's character.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


Ha ha! So true.

Cousin Helen was kind of a low point in the depiction of people with disabilities: she makes up for having to lie on a fainting couch all day by being practically perfect in every way! There was also a big WTF moment when she explains that she was engaged before her illness, but then broke off the engagement though he begged her not to, because, I guess, disabled women shouldn't marry. And now she is a sexless saint, which is so much better!
chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Default)

From: [personal profile] chomiji



In general, I hate the illness-related stories, which is funny, because I'm a big fan of h/c in fanfic. I think the h/c has to be earned, and Beth's just doing one more selfless thing doesn't count, dramatically. So I picked all the Lymond ones. There's some great two-for-one in the last volume, too.



Gosh, how could you have left out the Mibu Death Disease in SDK? (That series really does have Just About Everything at one point or another.) (And do the parasitic infestations count?)



And also I used to be very affected by Eowyn and Merry with the Nazgul disease after defeated the Witch King in LotR. Merry always bothered me more than Eowyn because she so clearly wanted to die. Whereas Merry was as close as I had to a POV character in that story ... .


ext_6428: (wild adapter (drugs & guns))

From: [identity profile] coffeeandink.livejournal.com

Manga diseases


I can't believe you forgot the one where you gradually turn into an animal, but before the transformation is completed, you explode! from Wild Adapter.

Re: Manga diseases

From: [personal profile] oyceter - Date: 2009-05-01 05:10 am (UTC) - Expand

From: [identity profile] a2zmom.livejournal.com


The movie version of Love Story. She didn't even look sick!

Also, opera but more specifically La Boheme. Mimi sings a 10 minute aria before she kicks the bucket due to consumption. Or possibly trying to hit those high notes And yes, Rent is a contemporary retelling of the story.
ext_27060: Sumer is icomen in; llude sing cucu! (Default)

From: [identity profile] rymenhild.livejournal.com


The mysterious, nameless illness (probably some form of cancer, if I could guess) that the eight-year-old protagonist of James Duffy, The Doll Hospital has. Little Alison has a hospital for her dolls and her friends' dolls. When she herself becomes ill, she can only be healed because her doll friends support her. It's all about the MAGICAL DOLL LOVE.

From: [identity profile] rushthatspeaks.livejournal.com


Honestly on some level I am never going to stop wallowing in the case of near-blindness in Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. Because the Oldest And Most Helpful Child of the Impoverished Saintly Family nearly goes blind on account of how she does too much sewing to try to help her poor widowed mother! And then in order not to go blind she has to lie flat on her back in a pitch dark room with a cloth over her eyes doing nothing for like six months! And then once when she gets up in a total emergency situation and opens her eyes once the doctor comes and makes grave noises and prescribes an additional six months!

All hail the Victorians.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


You're RIGHT! I'd totally forgetten that.

I also recall Joel getting whooping cough and being pleased because it means he gets currant jelly and other delicacies.

From: [identity profile] madam-silvertip.livejournal.com


I take h/c pretty literally which means it doesn't do for me what it's supposed to do, or if it did it would freak me out. This is possibly a failing in me rather than in the genre. That is it's a failing in the reader to take most fiction too literally--although there is that illness as metaphor thing, and perhaps I don't want to lose touch with real-life angst-inducing illness situations I've been involved in, including fetishization of comfort over the demands of real being-there (my own such failures, others' failures, etc.).

Wow, good angsty fic material right there. (Which would probably freak me out.)

But fiction that makes situations in which someone you love is badly hurt/seriously ill very real, painfully real, and does them justice...lots of love, tough love. "Watership Down": tossup between Bluebell's support of Holly and Fiver's of Hazel when he is shot.

Favorite campy/absurd illness/wounding: always hard for me to take them in such a spirit, but some of Madeleine L'Engle's are borderline funny, though too close to seriousness to be comfortable to laugh at (and too close to funny to be comfortable to groove on).

From: [identity profile] telophase.livejournal.com


There's always the Ill-Made Mute series in which the aforementioned ill-made mute Conveniently Gets Afflicted with hideous poison ivy all over her face AND amnesia at the same time, so she doesn't realize that she's Truly Beautiful.
ext_7025: (cure for anything)

From: [identity profile] buymeaclue.livejournal.com


Whatever it is that the kid gets in the Velveteen Rabbit. To this day, every time I get sick I start thinking I should burn everything that I own.

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From: [identity profile] faithhopetricks.livejournal.com - Date: 2009-05-01 08:13 pm (UTC) - Expand

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From: [identity profile] lady-ganesh.livejournal.com - Date: 2009-05-01 01:43 am (UTC) - Expand

From: [identity profile] spectralbovine.livejournal.com


Since Captain Trips is the only one of those I'm familiar with, it wins!

Although Sebacean Heat Delirium is pretty bad too.

From: [identity profile] lnhammer.livejournal.com


For Other: Akane's recently revealed long-standing (from childhood) but unspecified illness in Cross Game, which has her in the hospital for testing in the most recent chapters. Mainly because I expect Adachi to be above cheap narrative shots, which means he better be going someplace unexpected with this. Especially since she's a double of Wakaba, who already died (back in volume 1).

---L.

From: [identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com


... okay... someone tells me if this counts or if I'm revealing myself to be a hopeless dweeb who doesn't know anything:

That episode "The empath" in Star Trek: TOS. That hit me like a ton of bricks when I first saw it, at about age 8. I was such a proto masochist.

From: [identity profile] tibicina.livejournal.com


The consumption/tuberculosis in La Traviata and La Boheme which somehow still leaves its victims capable of singing arias.

From: [identity profile] veejane.livejournal.com


I was going to say smallpox in Bleak House, because Jo gets to die tragically and Esther's beauty is ruined. Ruined! But perhaps smallpox is not so fun as diseases go.

In general, I think tragic! young things do not so much die of AIDS any more because people know what late-stage AIDS looks like and it's disturbingly reminiscent of anorexic actresses. And cancer -- pfft! Too many people survive cancer for it to be a tragic! illness any more. So a heretofore-unknown heart ailment is still your best bet. (See: Denny Duquette.)

From: [identity profile] sartorias.livejournal.com


Oh, clearly the leukemia of Love Story--not only does it make you more beautiful than you ever were while on two feet, it also makes you wise and compassionate! Rah rah cancer!
ellarien: bookshelves (books)

From: [personal profile] ellarien


Guilt- or stress-induced "brain fever" as featured (twice!) in Meredith's The Ordeal of Richard Feverel, Dracula, the Sherlock Holmes story "The Affair of the Naval Treaty," and others. (Maybe Crime and Punishment, as well.)

Also Marcus's wounded leg in The Eagle of the Ninth. Things like that had a huge influence on my young imaginative life.

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From: [identity profile] anatomiste.livejournal.com - Date: 2009-05-01 05:49 am (UTC) - Expand

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From: [personal profile] ellarien - Date: 2009-05-01 06:08 am (UTC) - Expand

From: [identity profile] coyotegoth.livejournal.com


The disease where heads and limbs fall off in Planet Ladder.

Never read this, but now I'm curious.

From: [identity profile] jinian.livejournal.com


The disease is pretty hilarious, YET ALSO TRAGIC. Also, giant talking chicken!

From: [identity profile] desert-sparrow.livejournal.com


It wasn't an illness, but Sheridan in Babylon 5 knew he was going to run out of life at a given time, and the show handled it beautifully.
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