Amy Shuman


Proverbs can be considered the debris of prior talk, reused in different media and contexts, as part of or disaggregated from narratives. They are the speech of others, inserted into a new context where they can support, contradict, or shift the speaker’s stance in relation to the people and objects under discussion. Calling attention to the gap between present and prior speaker, they negotiate the terrain between cliché and authoritative discourse. This discussion focuses on the relationship between stance and form in the uses of the proverb “this too shall pass” in different media, including rejections of the proverb by people with disabilities.