By Laurel Coolbaugh
Reconciliation Series: Invisibility in a Culture of Patriarchy (September 2015)
In Jodi Piccoult’s novel, “House Rules”, the young adult, Jacob Hunt, has Asperger’s syndrome and though quite brilliant, he will not look people in the eyes, which is a one of many resulting social issues caused by Asperger’s. The author rotates writing each chapter from one of the main character’s perspectives, so when Jacob talks about being coached in social cues by a female university student with whom he thinks he might be in love, he talks about the reason he does not look into people’s eyes when talking with them. Jacob relays that looking into someone’s eyes is like precipitating an internal explosion (not a quote). When we look into another’s eyes, according to Jacob, their thoughts and heart become transparent. Jacob likens it to reaching in and pulling out a person’s innards and exposing them. And he thinks this is uncomfortable, in the least, and shaming, in the worst.
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