The Deaf Child in the Family and at School: Essays in Honor of Kathryn P. Meadow-Orlans

By Patricia Elizabeth Spencer; Carol J. Erting et al. | Go to book overview

6
Autobiographical Narrative on Growing Up Deaf

Annie Steinberg University of Pennsylvania

I sometimes think that silence can kill you, like that terrible scene at the end of Kafka's The Trial when Joseph K. dies speechlessly, like a dog. In "The Metamorphosis," a story that is now lodged in everybody's unconscious, Gregor Samsa dies like an insect. To die is to be no longer human, to be dehumanized -- and I think that language, speech, stories, or narratives are the most effective ways to keep our humanity alive. To remain silent is literally to close down the shop of one's humanity.

-- Broyard ( 1992, p. 20)

Through the lens of experiences of children and adults who are deaf, this chapter examines the importance of discourse and narrative for the child who is deaf and the impact of deafness on shared narrative and the development of the child. Each person has a unique life history or personal narrative. Telling and retelling the stories of our lives helps us become aware of the significance of our experiences. Storytelling is meaningful and central to our lives not only because it allows us to explain our experiences

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