Literary Essay Sample on the Novel Good Kings Bad Kings

Published: 2022-05-31
Literary Essay Sample on the Novel Good Kings Bad Kings
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  American literature
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 584 words
5 min read

Good kings bad kings, a novel in the year 2013 by Susan Nussbaum shares a compilation of a collection of storylines told by each character from different perspectives. The teenagers in this novel make it clear, through their monologues that they want to be accepted and treated with respect. Some work at Illinois Learning and Life Skills Centre (ILLC), showing how much they want to live independently and take control over their lives.

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The novel is an emotional and expressive attack against institutionalization, showing that there is an unequal relationship in which brutality can happen and quickly go unnoticed. One occupant is raped by a staff member, and another dies after being neglected under unbearable conditions, but nothing happens until a vibrant teenage occupant, Yessenia Lopez speaks out

Yessenia, who tells the first narrative, described herself as 'physically challenged,' but it becomes clear that the challenges she faces are not mainly physical. Bookrags (2018) state that,"it seems that in the US, conditions that represent disability are less evidently stated from the view of their political impact. The healthcare systems are strengthened by terms such as 'physically challenged.' These terms rule out any likelihood of an impaired person being considered disabled by tyrannical societal relationships. Nevertheless, the 'problem' is located solely within the impaired individual's own body. The narratives that follow Yessenia's continue to tell the personal stories of others at ILLC.

Yessenia, who had used a wheelchair, is a courageous character. Unlike the other teenagers in the novel, we see her fighting for herself, and also for her fellow victims of cruelty and ill-treatment. There are characters in this novel who are raped, some exposed to torture, and do not dare to speak out. However, Yessenia fights back. In one instance, a fellow student mentioned her opinion on her condition (Nussbaum 56). This made her angry, and she ended up brutally beating her. This fight led her to be sent to Illinois Learning and Life Skills Centre (ILLC), a facility for children with disabilities. This is where she confidently fights for her fellow disabled children.

In yet another instance, this time in ILLC, Yessenia ends up spending time in a room' 'time-out room' after cutting up her roommate's mattress. This shows just how much of a fighter she was. In the long-run, she fights for her fellow victims by sitting outside the front of the building with a poster which reads 'THIS PLACE ABUSE AND KILLS CHILDREN.' The media and an organization of disability rights take the story and save them from the hands of their torturous. The novel ends with an optimistic note.

Ricky Fernandez, a driver, an aide for ILLC; engages in an internal monologue where he sides with the other kids against the other staff members (Nussbaum 76). Since he has a massive body, he's often called upon to grapple kids into submission and also take them to the time-out room if they are caught in the wrong. Having been through a violent childhood, he understands the children and thus handles them with care, and shows them some kindness.

Both Ricky and Yessenia try to make their fellow teenagers cope with the situation in ILLC. They have a good heart, and they take it upon themselves to help the teenage disabled children. As Yessenia fights for the rights of her fellow residents, Ricky, on the other hand, helps the children cope with the hard punishments they are given.

Work Cited

Nussbaum, Susan. Good Kings Bad Kings: A Novel. Algonquin Books, 2013.

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