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Lusus Naturae: Being an Outcast Due to Defying Norms

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Margaret Atwood’s Lusus Naturae is a story about a girl who is outcasted by society and her family because of her genetic disorder. The first sentence caught my attention, “what could be done with me, what should be done with me?” (Atwood 240). The opening sentence introduced me to her character. Her family and society fail to see her inner self due to her outside appearance. Lusus Naturae is a morality tale about the way society treats people with Disabilities. Three sentences from the story that support my opinion. First sentence, “she’s a lusus nature,” he’d said. (Attwood 241). Second Sentence, “It was decided that I should die.” (Atwood242) And finally, I am of a forgiving temperament, I know they have the best of intentions at heart. (Attwood 244)

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The doctor calls her a freak of nature and assumes she couldn’t hear because she was mewing. The doctor didn’t take the time to get to know her and focused his attention on her outward appearance. If he named the disease and gave the family hope for a cure the story would have had a different ending. Her family’s rejection caused her to question her humanity. Her mother and father distanced themselves and her sister was more concerned with her own life and didn’t want society to judge her for having a sister with a disability. It was mind boggling to read the sentence” It was decided that I should die that way I would not stand in the way of my sister, I would not loom over her like a fate” (Atwood 242) It is heartbreaking that her family only solution was to fake her death. Society views her as a monster because of her appearance but her character suggests otherwise. She was constantly forced to listen as others talked about her condition and never had the opportunity to voice her thoughts and opinions. Her family and village treated her terribly and blame her for her disability that she cannot control. For some reason she understands their cruelty and defends the village that wants to kill her by saying,” I know they have the best of intentions at heart”

In the end, she had nowhere to turn and became an outcast. I feel our society constantly rejects people who are not defined as “normal.” Some people feel uncomfortable being friends to someone that is identified as different and that needs to changed. I strongly believe we need to educate our feature generation and strive to achieve true equality. As a society we need to step up and treat everyone with respect.  

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