Author Archives: Uyen Nguyen

Nguyen: With the Light

I remember when I first looked at the list of books that was required for this class and I thought, woah! We’re going to be reading a manga in this class and I was super stoked for it ever since. This manga is so beautifully done; from the pictures to how it’s written. It was definitely different to see how autism is viewed in a different culture. I decided to look into how autism is seen in Japan.There also seems to be a lot of misconceptions of what autism is in Japan. I came across a blog where Jaime Tatsubana talks about how Autistic people are treated in Japan. He states that treatment of those with Autism is poor in comparison to the U.S because of the lack of awareness in the country. Tobe shows this in the manga with how Sachiko and her husband has to explain to people what autism is when Hikaru starts crying or throws fits in class. Tatsubana said himself that he has never even heard of autism until he moved overseas to Canada. According to Tatsubana, if a Japanese citizen is treated with autism, they are given a booklet which gives the person free counselling and job search support. The booklet also enables autistic people to apply for “Living Protection” which allows those with disabilities to receive a monthly pension to cover living expenses until they can find a job.

In With the Light, it seems like Sachiko Azuma had a lot of support within the schools and daycares that she went to. I did a little research on the types of facilities and support groups that they offer in Japan. Here’s the link if you want to check it out:

The website is divided into six sections: parent support groups, other links to different centers, evaluation/testing therapy, tutoring, distance programs, and others. Here’s one of the support sites that I looked at (Warning: it’s all in Japanese ):

From what I can pick out from my years of learning the language, it’s a support group that’s mainly in the Tokai region in Japan. There are different options on there that shows different employment plans and childcare support. They even have different options for seminars to help adults to understand the different disorders and also seminars that help try to prevent frustration that leads to abusing your child. I guess this is surprising to me because I don’t really hear much on lots of support groups like this for autism. For school wise, it was the first time reading that there were separate schools for children with autism. Growing up, I only knew that children with disabilities were placed in the same school as everyone else.

I guess to me, out of all the books we read this semester, Sachiko had a lot of support and patience with the people that she had to work with. Yeah, she did go through difficult times with her husband and her mother-in-law but eventually they were willing to try to understand the disorder and try to do whatever they can to help Hikaru.

How are people on the Autism Spectrum treated in Japan? (July 13). Retrieved November 27, 2016, from

Nguyen: Martian Time Slip

I thought I wasn’t going to like this novel only because I have never been interested in reading this genre. Overall, I thought it was an interesting take on mental illnesses. I wanted to try to look into Philip K. Dick’s background and how he got the idea. Philip started his teen years by developing two disorders: a serious swallowing disorder that would prevent him from being able to eat in public and a severe vertigo of feeling disconnected from the world. Later on Phillip became increasingly paranoid and kept fearing that he suffered from schizophrenia. This was around the time when he wrote Martian Time-Slip which helped express his concern for it. According to the Encyclopedia website, “Dick experienced a series of visions, dreams, and a hallucination involving a “pink light” beam transmitting information directly into his mind. He later used the shorthand “2-3-74” to describe this time period and spent the remainder of his life trying to decipher the meaning of these events” (Encyclopedia). I thought how he incorporated in autism was really interesting and it reminded me of most of the readings we’ve had in class and the Refrigerator Mom film. In Martian Time-Slip, there was a quote that said, “to have an autistic child was a special shame…” (Dick 37). This reminds me of the Refrigerator Moms video because Manfred’s mom was believed to not have given him enough attention and love that he needed so he naturally became autistic. I remembered in class we talked about because of this belief, most of the blame for this is are on the mothers which was what Steiner was doing. On the same page, Dick writes, “Steiner blamed it all on his wife; when Manfred was a baby, she never talked to him or shown him any affection. Having been trained as a chemist, she had an intellectual, matter-of-fact attitude, inappropriate for a mother” (Dick 37). So not only was it because of Bettleheim’s theory but also Steiner blames that it was because she was smart and had a high education which made her unfit to be a mother because she was challenging gender roles. A couple sentences after he has this feeling of regret of marrying this woman because of her high education and her “cold personality” towards her own son that it was the reason why Manfred became autistic. Given the time period when this was written (1964) there wasn’t much information about this disorder than from what Philip K Dick was working with except for what he probably heard from media and the resources that he had at the time. Later on in the book, he shows a different understanding in autism by having Arnie get frustrated by how Manfred has a lack of communication and he describes him as almost being machine-like. This shows a new understanding for Dick on autism that the disorder is not in anyway a relation to schizophrenia but more of a neurological disorder. Overall just a lot of connections with the readings and films that were presented in class.

“Martian Time-Slip.” Novels for Students. . Retrieved November 07, 2016 from

Nguyen Analysis 4

After reading the chapters of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, I couldn’t help think what was his 
inspiration for writing this? Was he a neurodivergent himself? I came across a site called Lit 
Lovers and thought that seemed legitimate. In 1959, Ken Kesey was studying at Stanford 
University. During this time, he decided to take part in a CIA- financed study called: Project 
MKULTRA at the Menlo Park Veterans’ Hospital. The project mostly consists of studying the 
effects of psychoactive drugs. For instance, LSD, cocaine, mescaline, etc. During his time here, 
he wrote many of his experiences with the drugs down both during the project and during private 
experimentations with these drugs. Sorry, I forgot to mention that Kesey was basically a guinea 
pig for these scientists to test these drugs. According to this blog, “He was paid $75 to be an 
experimental subject, take psychedelic pharmaceuticals and report on their effects. According to 
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, $75 in 1960 would be the approximate equivalent of more 
than $550 dollars today. $550 to take LSD” (Suer 2011). It is also mentioned that in the earlier 
years, LSD was believed to the drug that could hopefully be a treatment to mental illness… which 
I don’t understand why they would think that if it just creates hallucinations for the person taking it. 
Kesey had the inspiration to write One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest when he was working at one 
of the night shifts at the hospital. Kesey spent most of his time talking to patients and some of the 
times, they were influenced under the drugs. The combining of Kesey in being a night aide and 
also being under the influence of these drugs have possibly helped him capture some of the 
experiences that the characters in his book went through at their mental hospital. In the article it 
states that “Kesey did not believe that these patients were insane, rather that society had pushed 
them out because they did not fit the conventional ideas of how people were supposed to act and 
behave” (Litlovers). I connected what he said with given the history that we learned in class about 
autism through Silberman and the films that we watched. In the earlier texts of Silberman, he 
talked about how autistic people were diagnosed as “imbeciles” in hospitals that they were 
admitted into. People in society did not understand the behaviors and symptoms of this disorder in 
the earlier years so they put them in mental hospitals and find their own ways of “curing” them. I 
feel that people in society tend to do that. When they see people act differently or in ways that is 
beyond their understanding so they label them as “crazy” or “insane.” I feel that after seeing 
Kesey’s quote, I feel like his purpose of the book was to show that the hospital wasn’t about 
healing or helping these people, but rather dehumanizing and manipulating the patients. Now 
knowing the background information of Kesey helped me understand how he made such a great 
depiction of the experiences that his character goes through and the detail put into the piece.  
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey- Author … (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2016, 
Suer, K. (2011, March 08). PCS Blog – Ken Kesey: Government Guinea Pig? – Portland … 
Retrieved October 23, 2016, from 

Nguyen Analysis 2

I actually had a hard time trying to figure out what to write about for this post. While I was still unsure, I was discussing with my friend that we were reading parts of Sherlock Holmes in class and mentioned the passage we were reading for this week. She mentioned that in the BBC show of Sherlock Holmes, John Watson mentions that Sherlock may have  asperger’s  in “The Hounds of Baskerville.” I thought this was interesting since last class we discussed how despite Sherlock’s ability to excel in many areas and social awkwardness, he may not be an autistic character. Well not to mention asperger’s syndrome has not been proposed yet till 1944. I guess my question would be what causes people to suddenly believe that Sherlock Holmes is autistic besides his personality traits in the television series and the book series? What keeps this phenomenon going? Obviously Doyle had wrote the book series without having any knowledge about autism and of it’s existence but yet his character has traits that show that he clearly is autistic. I came across an article called “Sherlock, Autism, and the Cultural Politics of Representation” which talks about how autistic people are being misrepresented through media. Scott Falsom, writer of the article, says “Autistic characters are presented as infallible angels who are too innocent for their own good, malevolent monsters who ruin the lives of everyone they touch, socially clueless monsters who cannot help but treat everyone around them with disdain, or superhuman savants ripped straight from the frames of Rain Man. Autistic people are everything, it seems, except people” (Falsom, 2014). This relates to what we talked about in class last week. He then goes into discussing about how the belief that Sherlock Holmes is autistic is due to fanfiction created by the autistic community but through this, it helps create a non stereotypical image of autistic people. Falsom explains that fanfiction is an interpretative field that analyzes and clarifies elements of that work that only become present upon examination. He goes further on saying that fanfiction that talks about Sherlock as “being on the spectrum” diversifies Autistic representation in the media and within each fanfiction that’s associated with autism, it creates a whole different image for autism and bound to how society thinks. The idea of Sherlock Holmes whether or not he is autistic is still a blurry topic but the idea that Sherlock could be could show a more positive perspective of autistic people through fanfiction.


I personally thought this article was really interesting. Fanfiction was honestly the last thing I would of thought of that would create a positive view on the autistic community. I only think this because we discussed in class about how media sometimes portray autistic people in a negative light and to see a part of media that shows otherwise is interesting. Fanfiction helps create people to see autism in a different light and to be seen with all different elements of life. According to Falsom, “Because of this, it combats the belief that the life of an Autistic person is somehow incomplete, or somehow is “swallowed up” or “consumed” by autism” (Falsom, 2014). What do you guys think about his view on autism and fanfiction?
Falsom, S. (2014, November 12). Sherlock, Autism, and the Cultural Politics of Representation. Retrieved October 02, 2016, from

Nguyen analysis 1

“In 1852, the year before the story’s publication, Melville—once a big seller—had been declared “crazy” in the papers. (“HERMAN MELVILLE CRAZY,” read one headline.)” (Kahn 2015).

The story, Bartleby was a hard read for me at first only because I didn’t understand what was happening until after a couple times of reading the story over and the annotated version really helped my understanding as well. I referred to this quote because in the past people didn’t quite understand autism; in fact, it was almost like that disorder didn’t even exist during the time. My interpretation after reading the story and reading the other articles for it, made me believe that this story is Herman Melville’s way of trying to inform people about how he feels and how to see things from his perspective. The question is, was Herman Melville trying to portray himself through Bartleby?

In the story, we see everything through the lawyer’s perspective and how he interacts with the four people that he works with: Ginger Nut, Bartleby, Turkey, and Nippers. I feel as though Melville wrote this to show his relationship with his father (his father as the lawyer) and what he went through growing up. Bartleby was described as polite at first but then strange because he isolated himself from the rest of his co workers by refusing to go out with them and just focusing on his work, and just having a lack of a social life. The setting of where Bartleby was blocked from everyone around him. The only thing that he sees is the building next door through the window. I feel that Melville might be representing how isolated he felt in his life. The text also mentions how Bartleby only had a few people visit him in his cubicle and only on certain occasions.

I believe that the lawyer portrays Melville’s father because the lawyer shows his frustration towards Bartleby when he constantly refused to do work. He’s not only frustrated because Bartleby isn’t doing his work but also because he doesn’t understand Bartleby’s repetitive reply and his reasoning for why he doesn’t want to do his work. I came across a blog on WordPress written by Ben Belek who talks about his interpretation of Bartleby. According to Belek, the lawyer represents neurotypical society. Belek talks about how “neurotypicals don’t always understand the motives, intentions, and behaviors of autistic people” and how it’s vice versa. Which is interesting to me because I never thought of it the other way around. If I were to see it in Bartleby’s perspective, I would also be confused and frustrated as of why this guy (lawyer) keeps asking me to do things when I told him I don’t want to or “I would prefer not to.” Even though the lawyer showed a lot of frustration towards Bartleby, he also shows some compassion that he has for him. In one of the articles that talked about Melville’s life, it mentions that Melville’s father may have had Asperger’s Syndrome as well. Could the frustration be because of that as well? Could that have affected their relationship some how? Is that what he was trying to portray too?
In the end, the lawyer abandons Bartleby and he (Bartleby) ends up dying alone in his cell. This made me so upset about how this story ended. Could the lawyer have prevented this from happening if he just stayed with him?

There are a lot of questions that are raised throughout this story. For instance, what is Melville’s actual interpretation for this story? What is the point that he’s trying to make for the readers in this story? This was interesting to me because one, I didn’t know that Herman Melville was believed to be autistic and I haven’t read much text on readings written by autistic writers. It’s also interesting to me to do background research on what people thought about autism in the past and how they interpreted it.
Benek, Ben. The Autism Anthropologist:Bartleby the Scrivener. Pub. 15 March 2014. Web 15           September 2016. Path: