Saturday, April 29, 1995

Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture

by Carol Padden

This book argues that Deaf people (capitalized in the original to show a community rather than to describe a condition) need to have and create their own culture; no argument here.  To illustrate their point, the authors show examples of Deaf folktales, shared Deaf experience in school and in hearing society, and so on.  I especially enjoyed the part about translating "Jabberwocky" into ASL.

One new thing I learned was that Deaf people do not live in total silence.  Sound, though not in the way hearing people use it with specific meaning, plays a large part in their lives.  The stories of Deaf kids roaring through the halls, banging walls and windows just to get a feel for sound and to use it in their games, brought out this point well.  This book was a good basic introduction on Deaf culture in America (although my girlfriend had told me a lot of the most basic stuff already, it was still quite interesting). 

three stars

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