A Loss for Words Book Review

Posted on February 22, 2013

A Loss for Words is a book written by Lou Ann Walker that talks about things that deaf people go through in their normal everyday life. It is an autobiography about the author and narrates how the author’s experience of having deaf parents. The book is based in the modern society and seeks to express to the rest of the world how the deaf people live. This paper aims to respond to a few of the items cited by the author.

Question 1

A residential school means that the child stays at the education training facility for a particular period of time e.g. a semester. The child is allowed to go back home at the end of this period. A residential school for the deaf provides the child with the appropriate care that they need. The care givers in such schools are trained personnel that have adequate experience in the field. This ensures that the children’s needs are catered for thus do not lack the basic amenities. On the other hand, it insulates them from the realities of the outside world hence does little to protect them. The author’s parents were born into families that did not understand them hence were shipped off to the Indiana School for the Deaf at a very young age (42, 45-48).

From the perspective of hearing parents, this helps the child to actualize the situation that they have been born in. It thus helps the child to understand his/her surroundings and prepare them for life outside the facility. Most of these parents have no idea as to how to handle their kids hence send them off to schools where they are better catered for. Lou Anne‘s grandparents from her father’s ,Gale, side of the family sent their son to such a school as they were overwhelmed with taking care of the rest of the six siblings (56-57).

Deaf parents on the other hand send their kids to such places to learn how to live with other people. The facilities insulate them from victimization from the society. The author shows how the world can be cruel when she writes about how the parent to a deaf child hired her to give the child a lecture and he later abuses the kid when she leaves the room.

Question 2

Deaf people usually end up marrying deaf people due to the easy acceptance that the two/ pair have for each other. The author’s parents, for example, met through a blind date. The deaf people understand each other more easily than a couple where one can hear while the other is deaf. The probability that such a union will prosper is limited as the society’s perceptions will wear it down. The deaf couples therefore feel more comfortable with a partner who undergoes the same experiences as them (156-67).

Question 3

In the book, the deaf are treated as people who are not worth anything to the society thus despised against. This is seen during the party when after the author had explained to the young man that her parents are deaf, he quickly loses interest in her. The deaf are also seen as psychologically impaired hence are not able to understand much of anything. This can be seen when the author is, as a child, is addressed by the mechanics and the parents completely ignored. The deaf people’s culture is also swept under the rag and is not considered worth much of anything. This is cited by the author when she writes that when she was born, the doctors first had to confirm that she was “normal”. The room was relieved that she could hear. The doctors did not have it in mind that the deaf parents had their own expectations (90, 102-109).

The situation continues to unfold in the current world also. This is demonstrated by the fact that we are not at all interested in the deaf otherwise the learning of sign language could have been a mandatory subject in the teaching curriculum.

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