Good Kings Bad Kings
Part II: Choose one of the options below and write a 3- to 4 page essay responding to the prompt. Be sure your essay has a debatable thesis and that the argument of your essay is supported by sufficient evidence from the novel. Quotations should be introduced and contextualized.
Option 1: Choose a character in Good Kings Bad Kings and write an essay that relates that character’s struggles to the larger issues or concerns of Susan Nussbaum’s novel. What does that character’s story reveal about the reality of being disabled or female or black or gay or poor and working class or some combination of these identities?
Option 2: Choose one character who narrates his or her own story in Good Kings Bad Kings and write an essay that traces and explains that character’s evolution or development. How and why, for example, does Yessie go from being the girl we meet in the first chapter to the one who initiates a protest for disability rights and travels hundreds of miles to have her first sexual experience with a stranger? How and why does Michelle go from “I love Whitney-Palm” (25) to “I just don’t want the kind of career where you have to do things that . . . . you don’t think you should do” (278)?
Option 3: Good Kings Bad Kings can be read in part as a critique of American society’s treatment of people with disabilities. Write an essay that explains that critique, illustrating your points with quotations of the characters’ words and details from their lives. What, in the novel’s view, is wrong with our society’s treatment of disabled people? What changes or reforms does the novel seem to endorse to make that treatment more equitable or just?
Option 4: Some of Nussbaum’s characters are disabled and some are not, but the things they share or have in common often seem to outweigh this difference—experiences of shame or self-blame, poverty, incarceration, diminished choices, exploitation/abuse, the need for independence and connection, etc. Write an essay that discusses one of these shared experiences or needs and explains its significance in the novel.