Today I have a guest post on my blog! This hasn’t happened for a while, so I’m very excited. Even more so, because it’s for the blog tour of a book called Super Sick: Making Peace with Chronic Illness, and you know that I am all for the cause of spreading awareness on chronic illness. Really, the more books we have on the topic, the better. And so… I welcome Allison Alexander today on the blog to talk more about Jane Foster and worthlessness. Also, check out the rest of the tour stops at the bottom of the post! Each stop in the tour features a fictional character who experiences chronic pain or illness.
Give it up for Allison Alexander!
Often, when a book or movie represents a disability or illness, the entire thing is about that illness; think Forrest Gump or The Fault in Our Stars. These characters’ identities are entirely swallowed up by their disabilities. In other shows, characters with illnesses are only there on the sidelines to “inspire” the protagonist, in the way that Tiny Tim’s only purpose in A Christmas Carol is to be pitied by Scrooge.
Writers have also excluded characters with disabilities from stories due to the idea that once you’re disabled or chronically ill, you’re done. You’re no longer a hero until you have found a cure or have “overcome” your disability.
As someone with a chronic illness, I appreciate it when I see three-dimensional protagonists who have conditions and are learning to deal with them while taking part in a larger narrative—characters like Jane Foster.
In The Mighty Thor comics (and the upcoming Thor movie), Jane Foster takes Mjölnir and becomes Thor. What’s awesome about this is that she has the powers of a god—the superest of super heroes—and she has a chronic illness. Superheroes are usually the epitome of strength and health, characters who I have trouble empathizing with. I can never be like that, I think as I watch Wonder Woman running around saving people. She doesn’t falter in exhaustion just from leaving the house to get groceries, after all.
But Jane Foster is like that. She has cancer. And she still does amazing things in both her god and mortal form.
“I am Jane Foster,” she narrates in The Mighty Thor #1. “And believe it or not, I’m also The Mighty Thor. Though right now I’m not feeling particularly mighty. Right now I’m just trying not to die.”
In her Thor form, Jane doesn’t have cancer; she is only plagued by the illness when she reverts back to her human body. So why doesn’t she stay in the Thor form all the time, you ask? If I was her, I don’t know if I could give up feeling healthy for the weakness, the puking, the exhaustion, the Chemo brain. But she does because “not even the Mighty Thor is a match for every challenge. If I’m going to save everyone I know and love from the specter of war… then Jane Foster has a job to do as well.”
That’s right, Jane Foster, the sick and unhealthy version, has value. Worth. Purpose. Her story doesn’t just end because she’s sick. Her Thor form isn’t an answer or cure for her sickness—in fact, it’s more of a problem for it, because becoming Thor clears out the chemo from her body, but doesn’t cure the cancer.
So often, I feel like I’m worthless unless I’m cured, but Jane Foster’s story tells me that’s a lie. My value isn’t tied to being healthy. I matter and I have a voice just the way I am, and so do you.@allisonexander on being chronically ill and worthlessness – and how Jane Foster deals with it. Read the full guest post: Click To Tweet
About the Author
Allison Alexander is an earthbending Ravenclaw from Hoth who’s more comfortable curling up at home with a video game than venturing out into the wild. As an author, editor, and blogger, Allison aims to make spaces for minority characters in science fiction, fantasy, and pop culture. Also, her favourite character class in Dungeons & Dragons is a bard, so that should tell you everything you need to know about her.
From her home in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada—which she shares with her husband, Jordan—Allison writes books, edits novels, and mentors aspiring authors. Her book, Super Sick: Making Peace with Chronic Illness (Mythos & Ink) details her experiences with chronic illness and analyzes fictional characters who struggle with disabilities. She includes interviews with other chronic sufferers and explores how society values healthiness, doctors don’t always have answers, and faith, friendship, and romance add pressure to already complicated situations.
Super Sick: Making Peace with Chronic Illness is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository, and other major booksellers on April 17, 2020.
Visit the other stops on the tour:
April 16: Create Write Now – Laura Roslin & Perseverance
April 17: Mythos & Ink – Launch Day Party on Facebook
April 17: The Paperback Voyager – Doctor House & Pain Management
April 18: Armed with a Book – Raven Reyes & Pressing On
April 19: The Geeky Gimp – Cloud Strife & Depression
April 20: The Writerly Way – Raoden & Chronic Pain
April 21: Invisibly Me – Wade Wilson & Shame
Do you struggle with chronic pain or illness, or do you know someone who does? What have you noticed about how fictional characters with these conditions are portrayed?
I’m Evelina and I blog about books that made an impression on me. I love middle grade, women’s, scifi and some literary too.