Home on The Mountain

 

“I will never find home on the mountain.” (Clare 10). That sentence really stood out to me among the first chapter of Exile and Pride by Eli Clare. The first chapter of this book focuses on the metaphor of the mountain. The metaphor of the mountain in this chapter is described as the uphill battle that one faces to succeed. As Clare is disabled, the idea that “[he] will never find home on the mountain” (10) becomes more powerful. 

 

There are many struggles that people that are able bodied will never understand in regards to succeeding in life. The disabled community will always face synonyms such as incompetent and unable. Society is determined to tear down the disabled and limit any sense of direction that they could have in their life. In other words, Clare is right; the disabled will never find home on the mountain. Society makes damn sure of that by crushing the hopes of the disabled.

 

Clare also references his queerness as a reason for why “[he] will never find home on the mountain” (10). On one hand, I understand where he is coming from. Queer communities often face discrimination in daily life, as well as the workplace specifically. If we maintain that the mountain is a symbol towards success, then it is easy to see how homophobia may limit the success of a queer individual. But, I believe that his disabilities play a bigger role in shaping his ability to find a home on the mountain, somewhere where he can succeed. 

2 thoughts on “Home on The Mountain”

  1. I think it is hard to say which part of a person’s identity ostracizes them more in society, or keeps them from success. I think this begins to address why working under a framework of intersectionality is so important. Overlapping identities and identities in dialogue with one another in a certain person cannot be separated and they work together to create someone’s unique experiences. The combination of disability and queerness inexorably define Clare’s experience and I think we must view them together to fully understand Clare.

  2. I am indifferent to the idea that one of Clare’s disabilities more directly contributes to his exile from the mountain. But, I do think that the point Clare tries to make is that discrimination and stereotypes are unavoidable, and that there is more value in defining oneself than trying to overcome an immovable obstacle. I believe Clare chooses the mountain as a symbol because of its permanence. Mountains often loom in the background of photos, they challenge us as humans with their seemingly impossible peaks and their steadfast will. We cannot move mountains, it is simply a fact. For minority communities it is also a fact that they face discrimination, as unpleasant a reality as it might be. Clare writes that he may never find home on the mountain, but also that he avoids a dictionary to define the groups he knows he fits into. This is significant because it means Clare is choosing to exist beyond the constraints of the mountain. While his identities may not be welcome there, he has found comfort in his own definitions of himself.

Leave a Reply