Posts and G-G-Ghosts: Exploring the Portrayal of Stuttering in IT (2017)
Representation is important. This is a sentiment that pervades the current American media landscape. Media that includes historically marginalized and underrepresented groups of people are becoming more and more popular. Or maybe people are realizing that inclusive media have been popular all along.While there is a growing number of media artifacts that represent various racial, sexual, and gendered identities, this sudden explosion of inclusivity has ignored the myriad experiences of the disabled. Media narratives are still heavily populated by able-bodied and neurotypical characters. Is there not room for complex disabled characters in blockbuster films, books, and video games?This study looks specifically at the speech disability, stuttering, and how it is portrayed in different types of media. The 2017 film, IT, is posited as the main artifact to be studied. Chapters 1 – 3 analyze the history of stuttering representations, apply different theoretical frameworks to this history, and examine Stephen King’s 1986 novel, IT. Chapter 4 discusses the methods used throughout this study. Using autoethnography, the author seeks to evoke an emotional response from readers and encourage conversation about how representations of stuttering interact with real-life perceptions. Using a close reading of IT and comparative analysis, the author explores specific film, book, and television scenes. Using surveys, the author gauges how people react to IT (2017).The study concludes with proposed future research, a summation of recommendations for media consumers and creators, and a challenge: that readers rethink fluency and how they conceive of “correct or proper speech.”
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