Monday, July 11, 2011

How can the deaf understand sound?

Have you ever wondered about deafness? How does one live in a silent world? In Myron Uhlberg's "Hands of My Father", a memoir about growing up the hearing son of two deaf parents, he tries to answer his father's questions about the nature of sound. "Does sound have rhythm? Does it rise and fall like the ocean?" Myron's father Louis expresses himself using his hands, face and body, methods which are just as powerful as speech. But those who cannot understand sign are cut off from much of his communication. Heartbreakingly, this includes Louis' own parents and siblings.
Young Myron, born in 1933, is the bridge between the worlds of the hearing and the deaf, interpreting each to the other as soon as he can speak aloud and sign. He cycles back and forth between adult responsibilities and childhood desires, even being first intermediary for the needs of his infant brother.
This is a sweet, loving story of a family with special challenges and special bonds. The deaf parents have rich and complex interactions but spend their lives isolated from the world outside. Their son takes on huge responsibilities yet his life is immeasurably enhanced by his unique perspective.

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