Journal of Medical Humanities

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 241–256 | Cite as

“It Is Not Wit, It Is Truth:” Transcending the Narrative Bounds of Professional and Personal Identity in Life and in Art

  • Michelle L. Elliot


Taking inspiration from the film Wit (2001), adapted from Margaret Edson’s (1999) Pulitzer Prize-winning play, this article explores the particularities of witnessing a cinematic cancer narrative juxtaposed with the author’s own cancer narrative. The analysis reveals the tenuous line between death and dying, illness and wellness, life and living and the resulting identities shaped in the process of understanding both from a personal and professional lens. By framing these representations of illness experience within the narrative constructions of drama, time, metaphor and morality, the personal stories of intellectual knowledge converging with intimate and embodied knowing are revealed.


Cancer Narrative Reflexivity Witnessing 



Thanks are extended to early readers of this manuscript for their thoughtful suggestions and support including Mary Lawlor, ScD and Cheryl Mattingly, PhD. In particular I would like to thank the editor and reviewer for their critical and valued feedback. This paper was written in partial fulfillment of the author’s requirements for a doctorate degree in occupational science at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.

Conflict of interest

The author declares that the author has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Herman Ostrow School of DentistryUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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