I Can Jump Puddles is Alan Marshall's story of his childhood, a happy world in which, despite his crippling poliomyelitis, he plays, climbs, fights, swims, rides and laughs. His world was the Australian countryside early last century: rough-riders, bushmen, farmers and tellers of tall stories, a world held precious by the young Alan Marshall. (Source: Trove)
This cinematic adaptation of Alan Marshall's autobiography I Can Jump Puddles transfers the setting from the Australian outback to a stud farm in the picturesque countryside of Moravia at the turn of the century (when Moravia is still a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire). The narrative focuses on Adam, the energetic son of a horse trainer, who contracts polio and is hospitalised. His own courage and the love of his parents help him accept his inability to walk without crutches. But he is still determined to fulfil his dream of riding a horse, and he persuades his friends to help him in secret.
The inspirational boyhood story of Alan Marshall, born in rural Victoria in the early 1900s. As a young child, Marshall contracted poliomyelitis (polio), which left him crippled. He made it his goal to try to overcome his physical disability and live a normal life.
For a detailed, episode-by-episode synopsis, see Film Details.
Also published in abridged form in a Reader's Digest Condensed Book (1972), and in a Spanish translation by Alberto Rumschisky in Selecciones del Reader's Digest (1975). Also abridged and simplified by Anne Kohler, in the series Longman Structural Readers (1980).
Writing Disability in Australia:
|Type of disability||Poliomyelitis.|
|Type of character||Primary.|
|Point of view||First person.|
'On 9 May 1933, the day before the Nazis burned her book as part of their action against books of ‘un-German spirit’, Helen Keller wrote an open letter to them, which was published on the front page of the New York Times. ’You can burn my books and the books of the best minds in Europe,’ she said, ‘but the ideas in them have seeped through a million channels and will continue to quicken other minds.’ Today, if Helen Keller is thought of at all, it’s as the blind and deaf girl who, through the efforts of her teacher, learned to communicate. There’s scant acknowledgement that she was even capable of having ideas, and she’s often reduced to nothing more than testament to the ideas of others. However, Keller not only spoke, but read and wrote four languages, and was a prolific poet and essayist. The ideas that led to the Nazis burning her book Out of the Dark were contained in the essay ‘Why I Became a Socialist’.' (Introduction)
In recent years, attending to diversity in the cultivation of embodied identity has been given additional impetus as a result of intersectionality theory. Despite this, a key gap remains in terms of knowledge about masculinity and disability. This book addresses this lacuna through ten empirical chapters organised through the inter-related themes of corporeality, pedagogy and the critique of otherness. Each of the chapters positions the subject of masculinity and disability as a site of cultural pedagogy by affirming different ways of knowing of masculinity beyond dominant ideologies that normalise a particular masculine body and relegate disabled masculinities to the position of abnormal ‘Other’.
Part One focuses on pedagogy. Through the materialities of ‘medicalized colonialism’, imprimaturs of ‘relational genealogies’, ‘compounding differences’ and an analytical exposition of some of the neo-colonial conditions of the Global South within spatially-considered places of the Global North, Chapter 1 examines the denial of human rights to the Indigenous Anishinaabe community of Shoal Lake 40 in Canada. Chapter 1 theorises masculine corporeality in terms that take seriously First Nations', national and transnational body politics seriously. Chapter 2 examines the ways that movement and affect serve as a form of pedagogy for boys with autism spectrum in schools.
Part Two’s focus on corporeality includes an examination of the nexus of disability and diagnosis in the context of transgender men’s experiences of mental health, and a discussion of the ways that intersex individuals who identify as men and have experienced ‘genital normalising surgery’ actively negotiate pluralised masculinities. The focus on media in Part Three encompasses a study of the mis-interpellation of the disabled male subject in Australian male literature, research on the discursive strategies utilised in media representations of disabled veterans in Turkey, and an analysis of the political implications of depictions of masculinity, disability and sexualities in a variety television program. Part Four’s theme of self-stylisation takes up the questions of men’s reconstructions of masculinity in light of Lyme Disease, the potential pleasures of heterosexuality for young men with a hearing disability in the realm of Australian-Rules Football, and the diverse ways that disabled men negotiate patriarchal masculinity in intimate relationships.
Despite substantial literary and onscreen depictions of disabled men, there remains a dearth of scholarly critique regarding these representations. In this chapter, I analyse the negotiation of disability and masculinity in Alan Marshall’s first autobiographical novel I Can Jump Puddles (1955). Through adapting the work of Ghassan Hage (2010) on modes of interpellation of the racialised subject, this chapter examines how the disabled male subject is mis-interpellated, and how these interpellations are resisted. I contend that it is through mis-interpellation by hegemonic masculinity, and resulting negative interpellations, that Alan, the disabled male subject in Marshall’s novel, finds himself on the outskirts of masculine subjectivities. This chapter demonstrates Marshall’s complex representation of the relationship between disability and masculinity within an Australian context.