When Disability Becomes A Strong Dynamic In The Dystopian World
By: Evelyn Ulrich
December 16th, 2015
In the crash and often burning course of survival, the theory of Natural Selection is dominant. We all know what this pretty much means; the strongest, brightest, most affluent, physical exterior, and the overall healthy will carry on. This diminishes the imperfect and not-so-desired individuals as they don’t meet the qualifications. Your life is more on the edge because any decision can mean, literally, life or death. Yet, sometimes things just happen, could be a genetic mutation, illness, or an accident that could cause some form of a disability. When you have a disability (I was born with one, and I’ve no shame), it will produce challenges and obstacles along life’s rocky path. Yet, how we overcome these challenges, despite the ones that we already have, is astonishing. I myself, live my life beyond my challenges, as if they are nonexistent. That is my own personal mindset as I believe there is no limits. In the future though, when everything is one battle after the other, how does one deal with being ‘challenged,’ borne or given? Surely, there are going to be hurdles, even more so when you have something that isn’t ideal for drastic survival. However, there seems to be a bright outcome when one figures a way out of a peril situation.
On the post –apocalyptic drama series, The 100 (Season three premieres January 21st, 2016 on The CW) everyone fights to their survival as the world around them is ever engulfed in war. How people survive, live, and respond, are key assets. The 100 also exemplifies human growth and development, and how a person is faced with certain challenges. It also created a very diverse perspective of how viewers could envision and feel the character. Especially, some that have gone through such turmoil, but have risen from the ashes.
One such character that fought against her challenges, and became such a powerful role model-that can kick butt and still be true is Raven Reyes. Raven (portrayed by Lindsey Morgan) has been through hell and back, as she had to cope with Finn’s infidelity, a life-or-death surgery that left her left leg in nerve paralysis, and conflicted emotions in which was solved by intimacy, that often conflicted the other party. Then, there was the horrible, and heart-breaking death of Finn, who was her only family (despite his later actions) on the ARK. Raven was never truly the same in the aftermath. Even with all the escalation and stress, Raven always found a clever way to get things done. Plus, now with dealing with a ‘weaker leg,’ she works even harder and determined. She isn’t going to have anything stop her, not wn sh is completely strong willed! I know for a fact that those with a physical challenge will have a much deeper focus of expanding your horizons and viewing the world. It does not have to stop our ambitions; we might have it a little harder, but that is minimal. Such an example was displayed in episode 02×04, ‘Many Happy Returns’ as Raven attempted to climb the tower to assemble a signal beaker, but unfortunately, she couldn’t. Yet, instead of dwelling on the immobility, Raven had a fantastic idea to get the beaker up in mid-air. The solution of using a balloon proved to be a success (and much safer), and Raven used her brains to her advantage to help her people. As long that you have a very strong state of mind and willpower, nothing can stop you. This goes for anybody. Yet, witnessing Raven’s character development and her potential in the course of two seasons has been phenomenal. This is a woman who is brave, resourceful, and does not take guff from anyone. But, that is several, if not all of the women on The 100. It is imperative that girls and women should stand up for themselves, and the ‘disabled,’ (I honestly despise the word) because our voices need to be spoken and heard. A disability or challenge does not reflect who we are, and those who believe that it does, well they don’t fully comprehend life.
Then, there was Emori (Luisa D’Oliveira), the Grounder who lived in the Dead Zone. She appears in 02×12, ‘Rubicon.’ This girl was playing the ‘victim,’ just waiting for the precise moment to prey. When she intervenes with Jaha’s travelling party, she has them in her web, and makes up a ‘sob story’ about getting robbed. Emori is a fantastic manipulator, I will give her that. Now, I cannot confirm whether or not she had feelings for Murphy, but she gets pretty open with him. What do I mean by this? When we were first introduced to Emori, she appeared ‘normal.’ She was discussing her testy upbringing with Murphy about her life in the Dead Zone, and how she was shamed from the clan. Emori has a genetically mutated (scientifically speaking, and I am speaking for myself as well) hand, caused by radiation response. In Grounder customs, when an individual is born with physical and perhaps mental and cognitive ‘issues,’ (We have yet to see) they are banished and left to die. This is to erase the stain in their bloodline. Quite abandoning, and very wrong, isn’t it? I can’t fathom myself that anyone could do that. Yes, we are all different, but isn’t that what makes our world unique? Nobody has the right to degrade us because we all have a purpose, and we are all human. Back to Emori. Murphy was not all indifferent by her hand at all. In fact, he thought it was pretty ‘bad-ass.’ And, that created a new level of respect for Murphy from me. He can be senile, obstinate, and a down right jerk, but he also revealed a softer, more empathetic side. From Murphy’s stand point, this proves the point that people should not judge appearances, and I did not suspect that Emori had a challenge, due to her actions. She does not live her life shackled to her disability. She survives extraordinarily well, given the card that life dealt with her.
What if though you feel ashamed for being born with a physical impairment? Are you afraid of how others may perceive you, or feel neglected? When I was younger, this subtly crossed my mind. As I grew and became more astute, I just let others’ thoughts go. No need for people like that in my life. For some, it is not that simple. In 02×04, ‘Many Happy Returns,’ a young Grounder boy by the name of Zoran (Finn Wolfhard) covers half his face with a cloth. At first, I initially thought Zoran was protecting himself from the elements of the Dead Zone. It made perfect sense once you contemplate it; the powerful ultra-violet rays, strong winds, the swirling sands, and overall desert life. It did not once cross my mind that the child would have a challenge. Like Emori, Zoran was born with a defect, but on his lower face. And like Emori, he was supposed to be turned away. How can anyone turn away a child? Zoran resides in the Dead Zone with his parents. Jaha questions their way of life, but is well assured that Zoran is well loved by his parents, who will do anything for their son. At first, Jaha is a bit surprised by the boy’s appearance, but he just brushes it off, and forms a bond. In my opinion, Jaha quoted one very inspirational line, “I have no room for hate.” We all have something, for some, it is more noticeable. But, we shouldn’t hate, shouldn’t judge, and shouldn’t walk away. In truth, we can learn from the ones who have differences, and understand the world around us better.
What envisions do we have for the future if we have a challenge? What is to be expected? How can we survive when ‘Natural Selection’ is not in our favor? Specifically, in a war engulfed planet- when you always have to look all around you. Well, the answer is pretty much simple: Just live the life you want, and make it positive. Yes, there will be fights in your life (God knows how many I have fought), but life is a fight. It is a fight for our love, our dreams, our personal downfalls, our hopes, and unmaterialistic riches. If you let others try to take you down for something you had no control over, is not your fault, then it will have a negative outcome. However, if you just push them away, and hold your head high, you will rise above the lowlifes, and be a positive aspect. I cannot speak for others who have disabilities, but this is pretty much my anthem. That is how I view the world in my eyes, and I sincerely hope that people realize that we can be strong, fearless, and achieve anything that we set our minds to. We are who we are, and we could be the change the world needs.