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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.63, No.2, 365 ~ 383, 2017
Neurodiversity and Tourette Syndrome: Tourette Narrative in Motherless Brooklyn
유제분 Jeboon Yu
The uniqueness of Jonathan Lethem`s Motherless Brooklyn lies in the use of Tourette syndrom and the verbal tick in its multilayered narratives. Despite a detective and coming-of-age story, the verbal tick introduced in the novel not only defamilirizes the narrative frames of these typical genres but also extends tourette syndrome as a metaphor for the space of Brooklyn, New York and its residents beyond the protagonist`s personal neurological disorder. Thus Tourette syndrome is not just a congenital disorder. It becomes the socio cultural site from where the contemporary postmodern world cannot free itself. In the novel, Lethem, as a “destroyer of genre,” delves into the popular culture such as Prince`s punk music and Don Martin`s Mad cartoons in search of traces of Tourette syndrome embedded in the contemporary unconscious. Dr. Seuss`s On Beyond Zebra is one of the Children`s books that the author quotes in order to expose the limit of twenty six letters in the alphabet in representing the Touretter`s verbal tic. All these narrative attempts of Lethem share the acceptance of neurodiversity with the implication that tourette syndrom needs to be respected as a social category like gender, race and sexual taste. Furthermore, just like Handler`s memoir, Twitch and Shout: A Touretter`s Tale diagonoses neurological disorder as a neuro wave of the future, Motherless Brooklyn shares the posthuman epistemology by defying the binary oppo-sition of normal/abnormal and accepting neurodiversity as a natural phe-nomenon.
Key Words
투렛 증후군, 『엄마 없는 브루클린』, 신경다양성, 뉴로소설, 대중문화, Tourette Syndrome, Motherless Brooklyn, neurodiversity, neuro novel, popular culture
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