“Mother father deaf: living between sound and silence” by Paul Preston Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 21 April 2017

“Mother father deaf: living between sound and silence” by Paul Preston

Usually everybody understands that there are such things in the world like death and birth. But anyway it is very difficult to reconcile with death of our relatives and close people.

May be that is the reason that sometimes we do not believe and try to find the way to communicate with dear people that have gone letting us being alone.

Who will be courageous enough to say: “My parents are death”?

Marylin says: “No, DEAF! My parents are deaf”. And this is classical example of misunderstanding.

Agar describes ethnography as “committed to an understanding of given instance of the human experience – the environment that surrounds it, the history that precedes it, the intent of the persons who create it, and the pattern that gives it from”(p. 223).

Preston, an anthropologist, meshes scholarship with family history in this exploration of the impact of deaf parents upon their hearing offspring. Deaf parents with hearing children have been studied before, but typically by those not themselves part of such a family situation, according to Preston, and sometimes with chips on their shoulders: they seek evidence that the hearing generation could have been damaged. Preston has sought out the true impact of such parenting upon children, whether good or bad. Through stories, family histories, and sensitive questioning, Preston reveals what it feels like to stand astride the two cultural communities and offers new insights into the world of deafness.

Paul Preston shares with us a story of his life growing up with deaf parents. As children do grow up in two cultures, hearing and the deaf, Paul Preston is one of these children. This book takes a look at personal stories from those who have lived it.

“Mother father deaf” is the phrase commonly used within the Deaf community to refer to hearing children of deaf parents. These children grow up between two cultures, the Hearing and the Deaf. The author is one of these children, and in this book based on 150 interviews, he takes us to the place where Deaf and Hearing cultures meet.

‘Mother father deaf’ is the phrase commonly used within the Deaf community to refer to hearing children of deaf parents. These children grow up between two cultures, the Hearing and the Deaf, forever balancing the worlds of sound and silence, as a sense of self and family forms. Paul Preston is one of these children, and in this book he takes us to the place where Deaf and Hearing cultures meet, where families like his own embody the conflicts and resolutions of two often opposing world views.

Based on one hundred and fifty interviews with adult hearing children of deaf parents throughout the United States, Mother Father Deaf is rich in anecdote and analysis, remarkable for its insights into a family life normally closed to outsiders.

Unlike others who have studied this community, focusing on pathology and family dysfunction, Preston lets a picture of hearing life among deaf parents emerge from the personal stories of those who have lived it. As they describe their family histories, their childhood memories, their sense of themselves as adults, and their life choices, these men and women chart the sometimes difficult middle ground between spoken and signed language, sameness and otherness, the stigmatizing and the stigmatized.

It is estimated that almost ninety percent of the children born to two deaf parents are hearing.  The inversion appears to reinstate the normal order f things. Very few of these hearing children will have deaf children. The legacy of deafness remains suspended, and within another family, another family, another pair of hearing parents begins the cycle again.

Their stories challenge many of mainstream society’s common myths and beliefs about hearing and deafness and illustrate the drama of belonging and being different as it unfolds within the self.

In light of these personal narratives. Preston examines the process of assimilation and cultural affiliation among a population whose lives incorporate the paradox of being culturally ‘Deaf’ yet functionally hearing. His book explores the culturally relative nature of families and the assumptions and expectations that all of us hold to be not only important but vital to our well-being as individuals and as a society.

The nexus between hearing children and their deaf parents. Preston examines the process of assimilation and cultural affiliation among a population whose lives incorporate the paradox of being culturally ‘Deaf’ yet functionally hearing.

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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 21 April 2017

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