That’s Dorian Grey? It’s the 100th time now, said my friend with very apparent exaggeration and a genuine look of disgust. This, however, was a ruse to recommend me the latest book she was reading, a love story, “Me before you” by Jojo Moyes. I don’t mind rereading and genres don’t concern me. Hence I thought I’d give it a chance but I don’t trust her taste therefore when it wasn’t available for free on the world wide web and with talks going on for turning it into a movie I skipped buying it telling her I’ll watch the movie and telling myself I’ll hold on to my money for now.
That was in 2013 and I had forgotten all about it until one fine day in 2017 the internet informed me of the movie and I watched it.
“Me before you” is a romance novel first published on January 2012. Although it may seem realistic, the book is a work of fiction, a romantic story of a wealthy man with disability Will Traynor and his caregiver Louisa Clark, living amid the people who try to convince him not to take his own life; they fail and he dies. It is an “autobiographical” account of Will after he has been quadriplegic since a road accident several years earlier. The plot is the same in the film. In one of the scene, he says, “I get that this could be a good life, but it’s not my life. I can’t be the sort of man who accepts this.” Since throughout the movie Will is shown to be strong, determined and uncompromising, it seems clear that the “sort of man” who would put up with a paralyzed body and its demands could only be inferior to him. The idea that it is better to be dead than live with disabilities has been showcased many times. Like in Million Dollar Baby, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, The Sea Inside and etc. Television Film Theater all seems to love those individuals who want to die; they’re less keen to cover the rest “who want to live”.
When able people talk about suicide, they’re discouraged, offered prevention, psychiatric support because then suicide is never seen as desirable. When a person with disability talks of it, suddenly the conversation is overtaken with words like ‘choice’ ‘autonomy’ ‘freedom’ ‘out of love’ and people rush to uphold these prized principles then the talk of prevention and mental health support are rare. What kind of message is this since when did suicide become ok?
It’s said only the injured can understand the pain of the wounded, do we really need be injured to understand the right to life of the person with disabilities.