In My Left Foot, what possible thesis statement can be taken from the message Brown is trying to disseminate?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The clear and inspiring thesis statement of this remarkable testimony of one human's triumph against the odds is that people with severe disabilities can achieve incredible feats and, in spite of the limitations they face on a day to day basis, can live meaningful and productive lives that can challenge all of us. If we read Christy Brown's account of his childhood and the unflinching faith his mother placed in him, we can see that it was her belief in his intellect that kept him going and gave him the necessary strength and self-confidence to continue believing in himself and also to conquer his own intense frustrations and feelings of anger. Note how Christy Brown describes what happens when he begins to write with his foot:

I wrote and wrote without pause without consciousness of my surroundings hour after hour. I felt a different person. I wasn't unhappy any more. I didn't feel frustrated or shut up any more. I was free, I could think, I could live, I could create...

Christy Brown, through his writing and finding some way to express himself, manages to transcend his profound physical limitations and free his body from the troubles that he has to struggle with. Through this process, he attains peace and a sense of freedom. This is something that all of us can learn from: all of us in different ways and to varying degrees struggle from various limitations, physical or otherwise, yet with commitment, dedication and courage, we can transcend those limitations just as Christy Brown transcended his limitations.


Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that one of the strongest messages that comes out of Brown's work is the idea that individuals must be able to activate their own sense of voice in order to make sense of the predicament that envelops them.  For Brown, this becomes vitally important.  Brown understands the frustration and pain that is intrinsic to his condition and state of being in the world.  Rather than capitulate to this in terms of suicide and self- despair, his painting and sense of voice through which he is able to advocate for his own needs and understand his own voice of experience is what allows him to endure and eventually prevail over the pain of his being in the world.  The message here is that human voice is an essential part of being in the world.  Human beings must seek to understand this condition of being and not silence it.  Recognition of this voice, first from the self and then from others, is where redemption can be possible within human beings.  Brown understands this as coming in the form of his art.  In this, Brown makes it clear that the message that ends up emerging from his narrative is that voice cannot be vitiated and taken away.  When individuals understand the power of their own voice as activating meaning to one's own sense of being in the world there can be a greater sense of redemption from the pain and difficulty that often accompanies human consciousness.

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My Left Foot

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