Summary: The Diving Bell And The Butterfly

Decent Essays
In their respective texts, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and The Cry of the Gull, Jean-Dominique Bauby and Emmanuelle Laborit tackle the daunting task of radically shaping their non-disabled audience’s opinions. Though they certainly contain therapeutic elements, they are highly persuasive in their content. Laborit follows the traditional route of the polemic in her autobiography, using The Cry of the Gull as a foundation for critiques on various controversies in the D/deaf community. Bauby, on the other hand, takes a narrower approach as he essentially argues for his consciousness. The scope of both Laborit and Bauby’s audiences also reflect their arguments at hand. Despite their differences, both of these texts become polemic pieces in…show more content…
“I’m using my second language, the language of hearing people, to proclaim with absolute certainty that sign language is the native language of deaf people” (3). In this sentence alone, Laborit has established both her target audience and her intent. Thus, it can be understood that The Cry of the Gull takes a much more classically polemic route. While the text is still rife with Laborit’s personal experiences, there are two chapters within the text which explicitly present it as an argumentative text. These two chapters are Chapter 20 and Chapter 24—respectively, “AIDS and the Sun” and “Mr. Implanter” (109-25). In the first chapter, Laborit writes extensively about how “information campaigns on AIDS are organized by hearing people for hearing people” (80). Laborit goes on to express that this specific technique ultimately kills individuals within the deaf community, making it overwhelmingly clear that she is attempting to push for change within such information campaigns. These pleas are backed up with statistical information, such as the fact that “there are three and a half million deaf people in France who can vote” and have the “right to be informed, just like everybody else” (118). In this instance, Emmanuelle Laborit is using her position as an award-winning actress to bolster an argument about AIDS campaigns geared specifically towards deaf community. She also uses her position to shine a light on the controversy surrounding cochlear implants. In “Mr. Implanter,” Laborit compares cochlear implants to “a form of ethnic cleansing,” using the same methods as she did in “AIDS and the Sun” in order to construct a compelling argument (125). Despite the presence of other chapters more based in Laborit’s own life, these chapters make it quite evident that The Cry of the Gull is an
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