In "Darkness at Noon", Harold Krents vividly describes some of the everyday prejudices disabled citizens must face. Presented in an often humorous fashion, the author opens the reader’s eyes to the cruel ironies of society’s preconceived and inaccurate judgments, and their long reaching effects on his life.
Krents begins his essay by pointing out to the reader that he cannot see himself, and thus, often has to depend upon the viewpoints of others. He states: "To date it has not been narcissistic." The average reader may not be aware that the word "narcissistic" means, "Excessively in love with oneself." It is helpful for the reader to keep this first observation in mind as he continues through the article, and hears Krent’s descriptions of society’s viewpoints.
Krents points out three particular judgments that are often passed on him by the public. "There are those who assume that since I can’t see, I obviously cannot hear" then, "…others know that of course I can hear, but believe that I can’t talk" and finally "The toughest misconception of all is the view that because I can’t see, I can’t work." It is surely an unfortunate irony, that the disabled citizen must not only deal with his own burdens, but also, the imaginary ones placed upon him by society. Krents supports his statements using appealing illustrative stories with effective imagery. Krent’s chooses to use words which are effective, and relay a definite scene to the reader. Some examples are: "…enunciating each word very carefully", "..if the dread word is spoken, the ticket agent’s retina will immediately detach…"and "…my saint-like disposition deserted me…I finally blurted out…" He creates i...
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...is not even present.
Krent’s other recollections are also effective. They all work together to demonstrate the unfounded fears and misconceptions of some members of society. Krent’s mistake is attributing the opinions of a misled few to those of the entire nation.
Although the reader is moved by Krents many stories and examples, the lack of objectivity in the essay leaves the reader with doubts. Krent’s theme - that if handicapped persons were viewed fairly their disability would be not be apparent- is one that the reader is aware of and wants to believe in. Yet, Krent’s own pessimistic tones overshadow the greater good. The reader is left with the unpalatable feeling that this essay may be nothing more than a very unconfident and dissatisfied man, attempting to pin his disappointments and failures on society, so that he may feel better about himself.
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