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Chronic YouthDisability, Sexuality, and U.S. Media Cultures of Rehabilitation$
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Julie Passanante Elman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479841424

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479841424.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

From Rebel to Patient

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Chronic Youth
Author(s):

Julie Passanante Elman

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479841424.003.0005

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.

Keywords:   Plastic Bubble, Independence Day, teenagers, bubble boys, American dreams

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