ABSTRACT

Abstract This chapter examines Thunder Dog, a ghostwritten animalography that portrays the heroic descent of a blind man and his guide dog down 1463 stairs of Tower 1 of the World Trade Center on 9/11. This portrayal seeks to exemplify ideological tropes of the American dream, the overcoming narrative, Christian religion, and American exceptionalism through the critical lenses of life writing, disability, and posthumanist studies to question how such tropes affect textual and critical representation. The chapter pays particular attention to the paratextual surround and the paratextual packaging of that heroic descent, which is allegedly the essence of Thunder Dog, to examine how the narratives embedded in those surrounds substantiate Thunder Dog’s guiding ideological tropes. This move complicates queries about the purported ethical representations of a bestseller in today’s production and commodification of memoir and its frequent ghostwritten status to trouble how Othered subjects are routinely represented.