How I Became a Human Being: A Disabled Man's Quest for Independence

How I Became a Human Being: A Disabled Man's Quest for Independence

by Mark O'Brien, Gillian Kendall
     
 

ISBN-10: 0299184307

ISBN-13: 9780299184308

Pub. Date: 03/28/2003

Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press

"September 1955. Six-year-old Mark O'Brien moved his arms and legs for the last time. He came out of a thirty-day coma to find himself enclosed from the neck down in an iron lung, the machine in which he would live for much of the rest of his life." "How I Became a Human Being is Mark O'Brien's account of his struggles to lead an independent life despite a lifelong…  See more details below

Overview

"September 1955. Six-year-old Mark O'Brien moved his arms and legs for the last time. He came out of a thirty-day coma to find himself enclosed from the neck down in an iron lung, the machine in which he would live for much of the rest of his life." "How I Became a Human Being is Mark O'Brien's account of his struggles to lead an independent life despite a lifelong disability. In 1955, he contracted polio and became permanently paralyzed from the neck down. O'Brien describes his childhood without the use of his limbs, his adolescence struggling with physical rehabilitation and suffering the bureaucracy of hospitals and institutions, and his adult life as an independent student and writer. Despite his weak physical state, O'Brien attended graduate school, explored his sexuality, fell in love, published poetry, and worked as a journalist. A determined writer, O'Brien used a mouthstick to type each word." O'Brien's story does not beg for sympathy. It is rather a day-to-day account of his reality - the life he crafted and maintained with a good mind, hired attendants, decent legislation for disabled people in California, and support from the University of California at Berkeley. He describes the ways in which a paralyzed person takes care of the body, mind, and heart. What mattered most was his writing, the people he loved, his belief in God, and his belief in himself.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780299184308
Publisher:
University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date:
03/28/2003
Series:
Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
278
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Table of Contents

Preface
Prologue

Part 1: Dependent
1 Dorchester (1949-1955)
2 Polio (1955-1957)
3 Stoughton (1957-1966)
4 The Move (January-April 1966)
5 Sacramento (1966-1976)
6 Kaiser (September 1976)
7 Fairmont (September 1976-September 1978)

Part 2: Independent
8 Year One (September 1978-June 1979)
9 English Major (June 1979-December 1980)
10 Fiat Lux (January 1981-June 1982)
11 Graduate School (July 1982-June 1983)
12 A Berkeley Life (June 1983-July 1991)
13 The Sex Surrogate (1985)
14 Poet and Journalist (circa 1983-1995)
15 The Blue Terror (July-August 1991)

Afterword (August 1991-May 1997)

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