From Rebel to Patient
This introductory chapter considers The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976), a TV romantic drama that is loosely based on the lives of two young boys without functioning immune systems who lived and died in isolation from the outside world. Transforming the medicalized human interest story of the patients (bubble boys) into a teenage love story, the movie juxtaposes the U.S. Independence Day celebration with the humiliation of one of the characters’ failed romantic encounter to accentuate his weakness. In relation to this case, the book argues that teenagers have appeared in history and culture as an anxious figure, the repository for American dreams and worst nightmares, national and individual success as well as the imminent danger of failure.
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