Good Kings Bad Kings By Susan Nussbaum: An Analysis

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As unethical and malicious the tactic is, a common malpractice of authorities in maintaining dominance and control of a community is through violence. I, Rigoberta Menchú, is an autobiography of a poor Guatemalan woman whose family was oppressed by light-skinned landowners and brutalized by right-wing soldiers. In this novel, the government is taking control of Menchú’s homeland in order to contain the communists that can eventually pose as a threat to their political beliefs. Good Kings Bad Kings, by Susan Nussbaum, is a novel based on collective narratives of different viewpoints of patients and workers in a mental health institution that treats the disabled. Although these novels depict the experiences of two completely different communities, …show more content…
One mechanism to counteract the impact of structural violence and mistreatment in the ILLC institution is protest. An example of this is when Yessenia belts herself and her wheelchair to a sapling at the building's front entry holding signs that say, “They abuse and kill children here” (Nussbaum 259) in protest after Teddy’s death with other patients by her side. However, this method did not bring any justice to the protesters because even though they landed a story on the Channel 5 news, Howard Anderson, an ILLC board member, counters by saying “Does...any rational person…really believe our society would be able to function if places like ILLC were suddenly no longer available? Imagine the death rate under those circumstances” (Nussbaum 261-262). Here, we see the recurring theme of being “rational” by the hierarchy to justify any action or event no matter how tragic or inhumane it is, and they continue to repress the outcry of the oppressed group. Anderson further implies that there would be more deaths if there weren’t institutions like ILLC, as if he considers the institution to be a refuge and a place where lives are saved, maybe even enhanced. Alternatively, another strategy to counteract the injustice of a community is through joining a political activist group, like Rigoberta Menchú mentions in her autobiography. Even though joining an anti-government organization as a woman in her time was incredibly dangerous, Menchú fights and rises above her fear of being punished by the government, which tragically happened to her father since he was named a “political prisoner” (Menchú 136) and was ultimately murdered during a protest progressing into the novel. Menchú’s father and “other peasants” (Menchú 137) formed a group called the “CUC” (137) to fight

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