By Susan Schaller
For greater than 1 / 4 of a century, Ildefonso, a Mexican Indian, lived in overall isolation, set except the remainder of the area. He wasn't a political prisoner or a social recluse, he was once easily born deaf and had by no means been taught even the main simple language. Susan Schaller, then a twenty-four-year-old graduate scholar, encountered him in a category for the deaf the place she have been despatched as an interpreter and the place he sat remoted, considering he knew no signal language. She came across him evidently clever and sharply observant yet not able to speak, and she or he felt forced to convey him to a comprehension of phrases. The booklet vividly conveys the problem, the frustrations, and the pleasure of beginning the brain of a congenitally deaf individual to the concept that of language. This moment version encompasses a new bankruptcy and afterword.
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Extra resources for A Man Without Words (2nd Edition)
I was surprised at how much security I derived from knowing his name. My brain, unlike his, found reality more real, more defined, when it was named. I could not imagine a nameless world, empty of all the information given me via a million names and words, and I wished it were possible to peer into his namefree brain. When I was growing up in Wyoming, I wanted to be an explorer and was afraid that everything would be discovered before I grew up. Now for the first time in my life I could be like my childhood hero, John Muir, at the edge of an unknown world.
During that week, I tried several times to teach him what the numbers on a clock meant. He seemed to understand that they corresponded to an event like class or lunch break, but they could just as well have been pictures of flowers. The movement or position of the black hands meant nothing to him. I shifted to more general notions of time: morning, evening, and the idea of a day based on the sun rising and setting. Ildefonso eventually learned the signs for sun, sunrise, sunset, but not day or night.
I found the page with C-A-T and the penciled line to the picture. It was just possible that Ildefonso's unconscious might have carried an association between the meaningless C-A-T and the picture. Desperately, I pointed to the picture. His callused fingertip landed on the cat's head. Still pointing with one hand to the picture, I signed "cat" with my other hand. " I smiled and nodded my head up and down to show my pleasure. He looked satisfied or perhaps relieved as his broad hands again disappeared into the crooks of his arms.
A Man Without Words (2nd Edition) by Susan Schaller