Throughout the course of the semester, I have gained a new understanding and respect of Deaf culture and the many aspects it encompasses. The information supplied in class through discussion, movies, and guest lecturers since the previous reflection have aided in the enhancement of my knowledge of Deaf culture and nicely wrapped up all of the information provided throughout the semester.
One of the movies that we watched in class was Children Of a Lesser God, which was a monumental film for the Deaf community because, not only was American Sign Language one of the major topics of the film, but more importantly a Deaf actress played the female main character. The film was a hit in both the Deaf and hearing communities, as it was a quality and romantic film with a good story line. The film featured many of the topics that were discussed in class such as audism, oppression, and paternalism.
Audism can be seen throughout the film, as the male main character, James Leeds, is a speech teacher as a school for the Deaf who is adamant about the importance of speech. At the beginning of the film, he begins class by listing all of the reasons that the children should learn to speak and that they will have to read lips because his “signing is rusty.” Later, he meets Sarah and pities her and is under the impression that she could do great things if only she could speak. This audist viewpoint eventually is lessoned, as he and Sarah become romantically involved but is something that he continuously struggles with. The principle of the school is very paternalistic and views the Deaf students at the school as sorry individuals who can only amount to a certain goals. While he clearly cares for the students, he is portrayed a...
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...r daughter get a cochlear implant and instead moved to a town with a larger Deaf community and where the girl could go to a Deaf school. Her comment in the film, “I feel inspired and feel safe in the deaf world. In the Hearing world I feel like I’m in jail” really strongly portrayed how oppressed and alone she and her family must have felt without the sense of community and support. However, an additional fact that I found when doing some reading about the documentary online was that there was a follow-up documentary six years after Sound and Fury was filmed in which the audience finds out the that Heather, her 2 deaf siblings, her mother, and some other members of her extended family did opt to be implanted with the device. So even though they moved to be in a larger and more prevalent Deaf community, she still later decided to go forward with the cochlear implant.
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