Reported Speech and Survivor Identity in On‐Line Bone Marrow Transplantation Narratives
ABSTRACT This paper investigates the language choices made by contributors to an electronic discussion list on bone marrow transplantation, called SupportBMT, and relates these to the construction of these contributors’ identities as survivors rather than as victims of a life-threatening disease and/or of a life-threatening medical treatment. Specifically, it examines the use of 142 instances of reported speech within 61 narratives posted to SupportBMT that recount conflict within a past medical encounter. Analyses of the illocutionary acts of these instances of reported speech, as well as the alternation between direct and indirect reported speech in these narratives, portray the patient as a strong self-advocate and the physician as contributing to that positive image of the patient, either directly or indirectly. Findings suggest that survivors’ use of reported speech within such narratives provides a socialization model for newcomers to the community of those with such illnesses.