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Teaching Notes for Carnival Bound (or, please unwrap me)


Use in the classroom to discuss: segmented narratives; paper as material object; lyrical writing; poetic/economical language; fortune-telling; trickster figures; the formation and organization of a story collection; genre hybridization; depictions of pregnancy; depictions of illness; social conversations about gender, orientation, and marriage; social conversations about disability; doppelgangers; animal personae; collaborative writing processes; constraints; furtive performances of the personal; (state of) being down and out; speech acts; codes; pretense; stolen experiences; striptease; sexwork; freakshows; being wo/man; body parts; earnest explorations of the feminine; gender (roles).


Pairs well with Suburban Folktales, Dante’s Cartography, and Weird Weeks.

Carnival Bound (or, please unwrap me) by Kara Dorris & Gwendolyn Paradice

  • 88 pages.

    Perfect bound.



    In Carnival Bound (or, please unwrap me), Kara Dorris and Gwendolyn Paradice weave the freakshow into the fairy tale and let slip the spare limbs and internal attitudes of carnival mainstays. In these pages, princesses and sex workers in wheelchairs navigate the conventions of the three-ring while wet paper (wo)men and fortune-tellers in individual tents perform feats and teases for those that have the means to pay for it. Dorris and Paradice show that every circus act has a basis in the body in tandem depictions of disability that ask: What would you exchange in order to access a body? What would you access in order to exchange a body? What escapes are available at the carnival come to town—and for whom? This place blows. Let’s run away.


    Audio versions can be found here.

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