- Purchase/rental options available:
Gertrud Kolmar's novella Susanna has primarily been analyzed for the ways it negotiates Jewishness and femininity in a climate hostile to them. While recent scholarship has considered the representation of disability in Susanna, a thorough analysis of this theme is needed in light of theoretical developments in disability studies. This essay examines the portrayal of the central figure as disabled with a focus on Kolmar's use of and departure from tropes that rely on the category of disability. Furthermore, it highlights the significance of these representational and rhetorical strategies with regard to the difficulties and possibilities of portraying disabled characters as "life worthy of life" amid ableist discourses. The analysis demonstrates how Susanna encourages readers to "read illiterately" by providing partial answers and discouraging transgression of the line between compassion and appropriation. While it invites vicarious witnessing of the stigmatization of persons with disabilities, Susanna also encourages readers to recognize the limits of one's ability to understand another's experience.