Analysis Of Robert Murphy's The Body Silent

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The Body Silent, by Robert Murphy, was published in 1987. The story is about Murphy’s personal account of the physical and social changes he underwent after becoming a quadriplegic. Robert Murphy was an anthropologist at Columbia University. In his early career, he spent a year observing indigenous tribes in the Amazon with his wife. In 1972, Murphy experienced a muscle spasm that was later realized to be a symptom of a growing tumor in his spinal column stretching from the C2 vertebra to the T8 vertebra, leading to partial paralysis; he underwent a few surgeries to reduce the size of the tumor, but eventually his paralysis spread until he was fully quadriplegic in 1986. Injuries and growths in the high cervical region of the spine, including the C2, have limited or no movement from the neck down, though a person…show more content…
Murphy lacks mobility and sensation in his lower body other than the feeling of occasional muscle spasms, and has limited movement in his upper body below the neck including his arms. Murphy writes the story as it recounts events throughout his entire life, from childhood onwards. He was sixty-two when he wrote the novel. The story provides Murphy’s anthropological commentary on the life of a person with a disability and how society views and treats people with disabilities (Murphy, 1990). Murphy’s performance patterns both support and inhibit his occupational engagement. His daily routines are heavily dependent on others. His morning routine involves his wife, Yolanda, waking him up in the morning, bathing and dressing his lower body as he lays in bed, transporting him from the bed to the wheelchair, helping him brush his teeth and

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