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“My Left Foot” by Christy Brown Essay

“When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?'”

-Sydney Harris

One of the themes in My Left Foot is Christy Brown’s struggles with Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is a disease that is caused from birth. Premature babies are most at risk for the disease, and most that are born with it do not cry in the first five minutes of birth unlike normal babies. The cause of the disease is still unknown like many “birth defects.” The mother and father of the baby often feel guilty for the baby’s condition, but the truth is that it still often occurs even when the mother has strictly followed her physician’s advice in caring for herself and the developing infant. The disease disrupts bodily functions and the symptoms may vary. Many subjects are unable to speak but their brains are fully functional and therefore are trapped in their own world, unable to express their feelings or thoughts.

In the book the doctors told Christy’s mother that he would never be able to communicate and would be a “vegetable” the rest of his life. Unlike a lot of patients with the same illness Christy with a lot of determination turned his life around. He learned to express himself through writing and painting, doing this only with the use of his left foot. Christy’s story makes you look twice at your problems and reassess your life.


“A man should not strive to eliminate his complexes but to get into accord with them: they are legitimately what directs his conduct in the world.”

-Sigmund Freud

With the mass flow of books, movies, and media in the modern world it is hard to find a great book or movie. Every once and a while you come across a book that changes the way you look at the world. It changes you perspective and outlook on life. My left foot is that kind of book, and Christy Brown is that kind of person.

Christy Brown was born into a poor Irish family of fifteen. In addition to those problems he was born with Cerebral Palsy. There was not much know about the disease at the time and doctors didn’t know what to do with Christy and thought he would never be able to communicate with the outside world. They told his mother: “For your own sake, don’t look at this boy as you would to the others.” But his mother thought otherwise. She, with out a shade of doubt knew that Christy could understand her and would be able to communicate somehow. She was right; against all odds he, with the help and determination of his mother, learned how to write. Even if the only way he could was with his left foot. He struggled everyday to learn and form new letters. He could have just curled up in his own world and not face the immense struggles of his everyday life,

But he strived to be able to do the things every normal person could do.

Because of his handicap he saw the world from a different perspective. He wrote this great book about his life and now he inspires with his motivational life story. We see his struggles and it lets us look at our problems in a whole different light, and it inspires us to try a little harder.


Many people approach severe disfigurement and disability with great fear, and are uneasy around an individual with anything too different than that of “normal” society. Christy Brown grew up not knowing why people would stare, snicker, or look away. He new there was something different but he didn’t know what it was. He was unacquainted with the strange disease that plagued him everyday of his life. Imagining the feeling one would have inside them makes me shutter with dismay. When he was young he would be towed around by his brothers and friends in the old battered-up wagon that was know as “The Chariot”, and was included in their games and fun.

But with so much use the old wagon broke and his connection with the world was unplugged. But as he always had done before he found his piece of normal life trough painting. As he grew older, out of childhood, he began to see himself in a different way. He began to see why he was the target of so many discomforting stares. He began to understand his disease and that no matter how hard he tried he would never be able to fit in like everyone else. He fell into dark depression for a period of time. It only grew worse as time went on. No matter how happy he was he always new he was strange to everyone else.

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