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Essay on To Sign, or Not to Sign

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In “The Day Language Came into My Life”, Helen Keller recalled the time she learned how to use sign language. As an infant, Helen had the ability to both see and hear, but at eighteen months old, she suffered from a severe illness that caused her to lose her seeing and hearing abilities, thus making her both blind and deaf. Three months before she turned seven, Helen’s parents hired Ms. Anne Sullivan to teach her sign language, and show Helen the world around her. Frustration ensued between Helen trying to learn sign language, and Ms. Sullivan trying to teach Helen sign language. Reading about Helen’s struggle to learn sign language reminded me of the time I started to learn Spanish and how frustrating it would be for me.
Before Ms. Sullivan came into her life, Helen did not know what the future held for her. Helen questioned the reader, “Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in, and the great ship, tense and anxious groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen?” (Keller, 1). Helen felt this way until Ms. Sullivan approached her, and Helen let out her hand, mistaking Ms. Sullivan for her mother. Helen and Ms. Sullivan’s first interaction would soon lead to a powerful friendship full of ups and downs. When I first walked into my Spanish class, I saw my teacher ,and did not really know what to expect out of both the class and my teacher. My teacher, though, would soon become an inspiration for my interest in Spanish.
To start Helen off on the right foot in the world of sign language, Ms. Sullivan spelled the word “doll” in Helen’s hand while Helen played with one. As Helen stated, “I was at ...


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...ike traveling and working. As Helen got ready for bed, she smiled with excitement, and couldn’t wait for another day to come so she could explore more of her surroundings through sign language. I felt the same way Helen did when I learned to understand, and speak, Spanish; proud and excited. I felt sad when it came to an end, though, because I wanted to learn more Spanish. My Spanish teacher taught me so much, and I felt like I should have learned more. But, just like Helen, I, too, could not wait for another day to come, where I can learn even more Spanish than I ever did before. Hopefully, that day will come, and if it does, I will make sure to remember my teacher for getting me interested in this wonderful language.



Works Cited

Keller, Helen. “The Day Language Came into My Life”. Language Awareness. Ed. Paul Eschholtz. Boston: Beford/St. Martins, 2009. Print


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