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The issue in which the two articles “The Day Language Came into My Life” by Helen Keller and “On Being 17, Bright, and Unable to read” by David Raymond is about the power of language. Language is one of the key fundamentals that has set humans apart from other animals and allowed sophisticated cultures to develop. Imagine a world without language, a world in which all humans could live without depending on anyone for anything. A world in which people never communicated in any way or form, a world whereby we did not have an idea of what was going on. This is how the world we live in today would be without the existence of language, without language every being would be living in total confusion. Man would not be able to differentiate or even identify the things we see, emotions we feel, and abstract things. One misconception about language that people have is this pre-formed mentality that if one does speak English or a national language fluently he or she does not understand language properly. This is not true language can be anything that is used communicates to others. I chose these articles because I personally believe that the issue in discussion has a high importance.
Helen Keller’s “The Day Language Came into My Life” is an autobiography that talks about her personal life before and after she learnt language. Helen Keller became blind and deaf 18 months after her birth due to a disease that at attacked her. She was used to living life without language, she knew close to nothing in life except a few sensations she felt such as warmth of the sun on her face and a few emotions mostly the ones she felt such as anger and bitterness (Keller 72). One afternoon she suspected something unusual was going to happen so she went to the door and waited on the steps clueless of what was going on. She stretched out her hands as she felt approaching footsteps thinking it were the footsteps of her mother (Keller 72). Little did she know that her family had hired a young woman named Anne Sullivan who was going to change her life. Several weeks passed and she learnt what words were and how to spell a few simple words. One difficulty she experienced during these weeks was telling the difference between a mug and water. Miss Sullivan tried to explain to her the differences but she still thought of them to be the same so she put aside the issue for a while. The next time Miss Sullivan brought back the issue Helen threw her doll to the floor and broke it. She lived in a world where there was no strong sentiment or tenderness (Keller 73).
Her teacher sent her to a well house and this is when everything changed for her, Miss Sullivan spelt out w-a-t-e-r as the water from a spout gushed over her hands. This was the day that language came into her life, from here she learnt that everything around her had a name, she had a new perspective on life after this day. She started seeing things in a new sight; she started feeling emotions that she had never felt before. (Keller 74) This article talks about how one’s life is without language and shows how language makes an impact on one’s life. The author of the article “On Being 17, Bright and Unable to Read” tells us his story of how he faces difficulties with reading and writing throughout his education. David Raymond shares his story of struggles he faced being dyslexic in a world filled with readers. The author starts off by narrating a day in his life when he was asked to read to the class by the teacher. He politely refused the teachers request, he knew the complication he faced anytime he tried to read. The teachers reaction towards his refusal was negative, she got angry and forced him to read. He kept calm in his seat without letting a word out from his mouth. The teacher eventually got tired of waiting for him to let out the words in the book, she told him to meet her after class.
The author explains that even though he has dyslexia, test proved that had an above average intelligence but with all the intelligence in the world and the inability to read made him feel dumb. This hassle the author went through cause him a lot of pain. He would come from school screaming “I’m dumb, I’m dumb- I wish I was dead.” (Raymond 77) He couldn’t perform most of the task his friends and a normal teenager could all because of this disability. His teachers tried to encourage him but that barely made a difference. The kids at his school made him feel bad about himself making fun of him every chance he they got.
All this changed for the good when he began to attend a regular high school. He still faced trouble with homework and others assignments but he would always get assistance from his parents or the special education department in his high school or even his private tutor. He later on decides to go to college but he also worries about what lies ahead after college. He gets courage from well-known people who couldn’t read nor had learning disabilities like him and still were successful such as Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci. David Raymond concludes by explaining to the readers that he is tells this story to the world not so they have pity on him but to be considerate when someone is having difficulty with language because it might not be due to laziness or stupidity but they might be facing this same problem.(Raymond 79).
These two articles both see language to be of very high importance. Helen Keller sees language to be something that is needed in one’s life in order for there to be meaning. David Raymond’s perspective on language is that it is a very important tool needed especially in this era where almost everybody is a reader. I agree with both articles, I believe most of the points mentioned in both essays are very true and in fact language is a very important aspect of life. I agree completely with the fact that Helen Keller felt lost in life with nobody to share thought or communicate with. It is very rare to be blind and deaf person at the same time so I could imagine how hard it was to understand language.
There are a few things that I disagree with in the article “The Day Language Came Into My Life.” She stated in her article that she was filled with bitterness and anger” and this was a result of the fact that she did not know any type or form of language(Keller 73). Viewing things from her situation I would rather be filled with sorrow and sadness instead of anger and bitterness. I would feel as if I was lonely no matter how much support I got from my family. I think she took her disability too hard on herself, as if it was a result from a wrong decision she made. I also think if she was to try to suppress these feelings she had towards life learning would have been easier for her. I think the author puts emphasis on the fact that she didn’t understand language as her biggest problem that she faced, but this was clearly not the biggest of her troubles. She made it seem as if the day she learnt language all her problems were solved.
The article by David Raymond is one of my favorite articles. There are many truths about this article. Many people tend to have a mindset that people who are dyslexic are stupid, dumb or lazy. David Raymond has successfully proven that this is not true. Reading this article there were a few things that I disagreed with, In this article language is very underrated. From the authors perspective language is just letters words and sentences. I think the David Raymond talks about language only in the sense that it relates to his disability. Language is more than words, any system of communication can be referred to as language. David refers to language as just text. This is a very narrow perspective that one can have about an issue so broad. Apart from these issues that I disagree with, both articles were very relevant and supportive to the topic being discussed.
Keller, Helen. “The Day Language Came Into My Life.” Language Awareness. 11th Ed. Paul Eschholz, Alfred Rosa, and Virginia Clark. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2013. 72-74 Print.
Raymond, David. “On Being 17, Bright, and Unable to Read.” Language Awareness. 11th Ed. Paul Eschholz, Alfred Rosa, and Virginia Clark. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2013. 77-79 Print.