Reading Response to “Out Patients” by Elise Wu – [Daniela Guichardo]
In Elise Wu’s essay “Out Patients,” she investigates the online community surrounding the medical condition called factitious disorder (FD). Wu creates a verbal portrait of this community by throwing the audience into an ER as she begins to describe her own experience. She also depicts the forum and group message board she visited during the study, giving behaviors that the posters tend to have in common when voicing their thoughts. Yet she distinguishes the two sites by explaining how their behaviors differ. Additionally, Wu lets the audience in on insider language – “coming out” referring to disclosing to those close to you of the medical condition.
Wu utilizes several different sources throughout the study. She uses herself as a source, having had FD herself, to insert her narrative and thoughts into her writing. She also employs medical facts to contextualize the subject of her study – especially after illustrating her memory at the beginning of the essay. Wu wields the observations she made on both the forum and group message board to show the perspectives of those with FD and those effected by FD. Wu was able to triangulate her data by effortlessly switch perspectives. This enabled the reader to get a well-rounded view of the online community of FD. In her essay, Wu made the choice to incorporate footnotes which made the text flow easily. The footnotes helped give context to some things that the audience may not already know. Wu does a great job of portraying the online community she chose.