Saturday, October 29, 2005

Albinism in Literature

With NaNoWriMo right around the corner, I'm cramming in some last minute research before I actually start writing on November 1. Probably not terribly surprising to anyone who reads here even somewhat regularly, the basic plot is a dark fantasy/horror with some light experimental touches. At least that's the hope.

I decided awhile ago that my main character will be an albino. But I want to treat this character differently. Albinos in literature and art are often used as thematic props, with little or no depth and little relation to what ablinism really is. So part of what I want to do is make my character as real as possible, and I'll do that partly by poking fun at some of the other books out there that use albinos in more stereotypical ways. My character is a literature student, so it would be important to him to be aware of all this. Here are the ones I've stumbled across so far:

Albino Knife by Steve Perry
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock
The Invisible Man by HG Wells
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
The Likes of Me by Randall Beth Platt
Ghost Boy by Iain Lawrence
I Sent for You Yesterday by John Edgar Wideman
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
Maia by Richard Adams
White Jenna by Jane Yolen
Bulletproof Soul by Steven L. Shrewsbury
Skels by Maggie Dubris

Strangely, I've read most of these over the years. The few I haven't, I'll try to snag at the library. If people know of others, please email me or reply to the post. All help appreciated!

Special thanks to Albinism in Popular Culture.


1 comment:

Maktaaq said...

This is not anything related to North American pop culture, but in Taiwan a derogatory term for albinos is "ghost children." There is superstition surrounding these people and at least one documentary was made in the late nineties to counteract stereotypes. One day I might find the names of these documentaries in my files (a huge job), but sadly I doubt they would be available in the US or even Taiwan itself.

When I lived in Taiwan, around the time of this education movement, young people began being super-friendly to their albino classmate at my university, perhaps overdoing it. One of my Canadian friends quipped, "It pays to be a blonde." Rather tasteless, I know, but a reaction to their obsequiousness.