Imagine you are Sarah Norman in Children of a Lesser God. Write a narrative from Sarah's point of view and explain why you do not want to learn lip reading and speech and why you want to stay...

Imagine you are Sarah Norman in Children of a Lesser God. Write a narrative from Sarah's point of view and explain why you do not want to learn lip reading and speech and why you want to stay comfortable as a member of the Deaf Culture only and not the larger "hearing" culture; add four lines from the play as part of Sarah's dialogue in your narrative.

Asked on by tien walker

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one successful path to take in your narrative is to explore how Sarah's commitment to her independence prevents her from wanting to enter a world where she will have to be dependent on others. 

One of the most important moments in the drama is when Sarah insists that she is not going to be “the creation of other people.”  This emphasizes her independence.  It is an important character trait for Sarah.  Her independence is the reason why it is perceived as being so difficult to teach her.  It also represents her staunch defense against being forced to enter into the world of the hearing.  When she leaves James, forcing him to acknowledge that their reconciliation will only be possible when they can find “another place; not in silence or in sound but somewhere else,” her independent spirit is on full display.

I think that focusing on Sarah's autonomous voice can represent the basis of a solid narrative.  It will be effective in explaining why she should not want to learn lip reading and speech.  Her desire to have her own voice, one that is not in the spoken realm, embodies her independent spirit.  Her individuality as a person is defined through her condition as one who cannot hear.

In many ways, Sarah has taken what could be seen as a deformity and transformed it into a strength.  In refusing to conform to the standards of the hearing world, Sarah believes she maintains her authentic sense of self.  Your narrative can enhance this with specific references to the text.  For example, it can address about how Sarah felt betrayed by hearing boys who used her for sex.  Additionally, the narrative can communicate how James demonstrates an inability to respect her choices. He is insistent on enabling her to speak.  His confiding to Franklin that he still has not given this up reflects this.  The narrative can also emphasize how Sarah views the pool as an extension of her identity.  The reason why Sarah enjoys the pool is because it represents a domain where everyone experiences what she does. In the pool, she does not have to conform to others.  In entering the world of the hearing, she knows that she will lose one of the most important constructions of her identity:  Her independence.  In remaining as a member of the hearing impaired community, she can be who she is, and not have to change for anyone.

A narrative that places primacy on Sarah's spirit of independence can illuminate why she would not want to be forced to learn lip reading and speech.  It can fully flesh out how she wants to stay comfortable as a member of the Deaf Culture, rejecting a community where she would feel out of place. 

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