HomedyslexiaExamples of Dyslexia in Fiction

Once I’d run some errands with the hubby, and as I was NOT procrastinating on getting housework done (honest), we watched some Frasier. The episode happened to be about the group putting on some radio play, and their struggle to find actors.

It was mostly a funny episode, but as soon as one of the characters let it slip that the heavily made up, tightly clothed, stereotypically ditsy actress he brought had dyslexia, I groaned.

Off to the stigma races we go!

Naturally, she had one line, and naturally, she screwed it up, then looked intensely proud of herself.

That pretty much took the humor out of the show for me. It’s always bothered me when dyslexics are portrayed as clueless, stupid and useful only for superficial reasons. I know we’re not, the majority of my readers know we’re not and those who truly love us know we’re not.

The problem with characters like the one in Frasier is that they do nothing but reinforce the idea that we’re somehow lesser than the rest of the world, and it’s perfectly ok to joke about us. It just really bugs me.

If anyone knows how to use Tumblr, just look in the dyslexia tag to see all the stupid jokes that are still popular. This isn’t a problem of the past.

Wreck it Ralph has a sort of borderline example of that, too. However, I’m still a little on the fence about it.

In once scene, Vanellop, the little black-haired racer, was standing up to her bullies. They were making fun of her because of the fact that her programming included what was seen as a problem, in which she’d fuzz out of one spot and into another.

She said something like, “It’s not a glitch! I just have pixlexia!”

Yes, it was very cute, but the reason it picked at me is because, again, it seemed like they were making a joke out of the disorder and the familiar scenario kids with dyslexia face entirely too often.

However, if you take the rest of the character’s experience into account, it does mirror what a lot of dyslexics end up experiencing. She ended up learning how to control her glitch, came out on top and proved to the world that there was nothing wrong with her.

So, on the other hand, the movie does a very decent job of illustrating the cycle a lot of dyslexics go through, overall.

For the record, I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you grew up playing video games. I really enjoyed it, and the animation is outstanding.

In any case, I’d love to see more dyslexic characters who don’t embody the stereotypes which plague us.

Really, we’re much more than our neurology, though it does play a large part in our lives. It’d be great to be able to point to a favorite movie, tv show or book, and let people see that point through that type of story telling.


Comments

Examples of Dyslexia in Fiction — 2 Comments

  1. Thanks for this post! I have been really disappointed with the dyslexia tag on tumblr, too, and I have been feeling especially fed up lately with the so-called humor surrounding dyslexia, and reading ability in general.
    I am an insanely huge Harry Potter fan, but there is one part in the 2nd movie that has always bothered me. (for the record, this was not in the book.) One of Draco Malfoy's mean and stupid cronies is wearing glasses unexpectedly, and Draco says "I didn't know you could read." It's definitely a commentary on reading = intelligence.
    An okay example of genuine dyslexic characters is in the Percy Jackson series. The books are written for younger kids (maybe 8 to 14), and it features a cast of demigods, all of whom are dyslexic due to the fact that their brains are hardwired for ancient Greek. This fact only comes up occasionally, and the author seems to forget about it approximately halfway through the series, which is very frustrating.

    Anyway, thanks for the great post! I'm totally behind you, if I have to hear one more joke about dyslexics untying or having sexdaily, I think I'm going to gets seriously angry. 😛

  2. No problem, and thanks for the comment!

    Yes, the stupid "humor" has been driving me nuts, too. At least the tag hasn't been as bad, the past day or two. There are a couple of teachers and parents who have been writing about their experiences with dyslexia in that tag lately, and it's so refreshing to see.

    Not to say that the dyslexic experience doesn't have its funny moments. There are times when I crack up because of something I saw wrong, or a sentence that got misinterpreted in an off the wall way, but there's a difference between laughing WITH a person and laughing AT them, y'know?

    I hadn't thought of that line until you mentioned it just now! It bothers me every time I hear it, too, come to think of it. With all of the attention to the prejudice of Wizards/Witches against Muggles, it's a shame to see how LDs still seem to get lost in that little subplot. In any case, it's been way too long since we've had a Potter-a-thon.

    (Yes, I'm a fan, too. We have all the books and all but one of the movies. Fantastic stuff.)

    I had no idea about the Percy Jackson series. It's been recommended to me in the past, but I haven't had the chance to read it just yet. I'll have to move it up on my to-read list. It's interesting how the author picked up on the foreign language/dyslexia connection, even if it does get dropped halfway through.

    I'm very happy to write about this kind of stuff, it's always great to give and get support on this.

    As a side-note – I love your icon. Dr. Who is awesome. Is that you cosplaying as 10?

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