Deaf Women's Lives: Three Self-Portraits (Deaf Lives Series, Vol. 3)

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Overview

Three deaf women with widely varying stories share their experiences in this unique collection, revealing the vast differences in the circumstances of their lives, but also striking similarities. In Bainy Cyrus's All Eyes, she vividly describes her life as a young child who was taught using the oral method at the Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, MA. Her account of the methods used (for example, repeating the same word over and over again, as many as 35 times), animates the extraordinary amount of work performed by deaf children to learn to read and speak. Cyrus also relates the importance of her lifelong friendships with two girls she met at Clarke, and how the different paths that they took influenced her as an adult.

Eileen Katz's story, as told to Celeste Cheyney, offers a glimpse into a deaf girl's life a generation before Cyrus. In Making Sense of It All: The Battle of Britain Through a Jewish Deaf Girl's Eyes, Katz juxtaposes the gradual learning of the words who, what, where, and why with the confusing events of 1938 to 1941. As she and her fellow students grasped the meanings of these questions, they also realized the threat from the Nazi air attacks upon England. Katz also understood the compound jeopardy that she and her classmates faced by being both deaf and Jewish.

In contrast to the predominantly oral orientation of Cyrus and Katz, Frances M. Parsons writes of a year-long journey overseas in 1976 to lecture about Total Communication. Parsons traveled to Iran, India, Ceylon, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, the Philippines, Australia, and seven countries in Africa to teach administrators, teachers, and deaf students to communicate using sign, speechreading, writing, and any other means available. Her harrowing and fascinating anecdotes detail visits to ministries of education, schools, hospitals, clinics, palaces, hovels for the poorest of the poor, and all kinds of residential homes and apartments. Taken together, her travels testify to the aptness of her title I Dared!

The combined effect of these three Deaf women's stories, despite the variation in their experiences, reveals the common thread that weaves through the lives of all deaf individuals.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The third volume in Gallaudet's "Deaf Lives" series features the memoirs of three very different deaf women. Readers acquainted with deaf culture and education won't find much that is new in the story of Bainy Cyrus, who was educated at the Clarke School for the Deaf, an institution in Northampton, MA, with a strong oralist tradition. This is not to deny that she has an interesting story, but it is not unique. As told to Celeste Cheyney, Katz's is a more unusual tale of growing up as a deaf Jewish child in England during World War II. Her account of dealing with evacuations and hiding from German airplanes while trying to receive both secular and religious training is more interesting, although the narrative has a fundamentally flat tone throughout. Still, readers will share Katz's frustration as she tries to understand her world. Educator Frances M. Parsons writes about her year-long journey around the world in 1976 to lecture on deaf education; unfortunately, she crams fascinating anecdotes and stories of Kenya, Iran, and India into too few pages. A mixed bag, this book would work best for readers new to the issues of deafness, deaf education, and history.-Andi Shechter, Seattle, WA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563683213
  • Publisher: Gallaudet University Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2005
  • Series: Deaf Lives Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,435,577
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Bainy Cyrus is a counselor for mainstreamed deaf and disabled students in Tidewater, VA.

Eileen Katz teaches sign language to twelfth graders at a hearing girls’ yeshiva and tells Jewish stories to a senior citizen Deaf club in Brooklyn, NY.

Celeste Cheyney has worked for nearly 40 years as a teacher at J47, the American Sign Language and English school, and as a mentor for new teachers in various programs for people who are hard of hearing in New York City, NY.

Frances M. Parsons is retired Associate Professor of History of Art and Coordinator of International Collections at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
All eyes 1
Making sense of it all : the battle of Britain through a Jewish deaf girl's eyes 99
I dared! 189
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