A Loss For Words By Lou Ann Walker Analysis

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“To the hearing world, the deaf community must seem like a secret society. Indeed, deafness is a culture every bit as distinctive as any an anthropologist might study.” (Walker 1986) Lou Ann Walker’s autobiographical book, “A Loss for Words” details the story of her childhood with two deaf parents. She is the oldest of three children, with two sisters who are named Kay Sue and Jan Lee. All of their names were chosen for ease of lipreading for her parents. As she is the eldest of the three, she begins to act as an interpreter, and does so; often dealing with store keepers, mechanics, and others who would not know American Sign Language, but who would still need to understand what her parents are saying. Lou Ann, as she grows up, realizes…show more content…
And, that even her decision to become an interpreter was only due to her constatnt desire to help people, fostered by her parents. After this breakdown, she decides to stop being an interpreter. The book is organized in a topical manner. Which means that the chapters appear in collections of stories revolving around a specific topic, rather than in a chronological order. Some of these chapters revolve around her education, her siblings, and what happened after her interpreting session in the psychologist’s office. As mentioned before, she stopped interpreting. In fact, she stops doing much of anything as she contemplates her unhappy childhood. But soon after this event, her sister’s wedding is planned, and she is forced to confront her past at the wedding. She enjoys herself, but resents that she still needs to interpret for her parents. Around the end of the book, Walker writes, “The fluidity of the sign is what the person enjoys watching, the actual telling of the anecdote, not the point it makes, not the final note. In sign you get excited about telling fairly mundane stories because the vigor of your presentation is part of the language. You're watching and feeling someone communicate. The language is so physical that signers are far more engaged with each other during a conversation than are most people who talk. You move and the other

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