Discuss “Sound and Fury”

Let’s have a polite and intelligent discussion of the controversial video we watched today. I can tell from the groans while we watched it that many of have difficulty relating to the positions of some of the people in the video. Let’s discuss that. Can you think of a way to relate to their feelings?

Those of you who missed class today, must watch it to participate in the discussion. The UG library has 2 copies, linked here .

Postings are due before class on Tuesday.

18 Responses to “Discuss “Sound and Fury””

  1. Emma Says:

    It was really surprising to me to see that these people were actually proud of being deaf. From our point of view, deafness is a handicap, but it seemed like from their point of view they were just in a different group, almost like they were simply an ethnic minority, or something like that- normal, not disadvantaged as we would think. I certainly agree with the grandparents, and I was sad to see that the parents didn’t give Heather the chance at the cochlear implant. I think they did what they thought was right. They did move the family to a place where they would have more opportunities, but I couldn’t help but think that even though they may do very well in Maryland, their children will never be able to move beyond that lifestyle. Like the grandmother said, the parents “put a fence” around their opportunities. They might prosper where they are, but if any of their children ever want to leave the town in Maryland and see more of life and experience more opportunities, they will be severely disadvantaged without the cochlear implant. I can understand the parents’ concern over losing Heather to a different world, and if they are content with being deaf and living inside their deaf culture, then it makes sense that they would be hesitant to kick her out of it. If Heather had received the implant she would have access to a world they never knew, and maybe part of their hesitation came from being scared to send their 5 year old into a world where they couldn’t protect her. I would be interested to see how the other deaf family decided to give their young daughter the implant.

  2. allison Says:

    This movie was so frustrating to watch. I have learned a lot about deaf culture and have seen this from both points of view, and what scares me the most is that Heather’s family is not unique. This is the dilemma faced by most of the deaf families across America and the rest of the developed world right now. It is hard for us to see it as a dilemma at all; the only answer is for the child to get the implant and become assimilated into our fast-paced hearing world. The deaf people see it differently. It used to be a lot easier to be deaf. There were even whole towns and communities where using sign language was not limited to the deaf. One example of this is Martha’s Vineyard; they even invented their own sign language. Wikipedia explains it pretty well, it’s under “Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language”. But these communities have become, like the rest of America, diversified and modernized. This left the deaf people behind. The cultures that used to exist are gone, and Heather’s father seems to not be able to relate his hardships and inability to climb the corporate ladder at work to her future. If he and his wife were able to stop feeling discriminated against by hearing people, I think they would see that Heather’s grandparents have a point: her life will have more opportunities if she is given the ability to communicate with the outside world. Why would you deny your child opportunities?

  3. Ethan Says:

    The couple who didn’t want their kid to have an implant can be described with two words: ignorant and selfish. I’m sure they love their kid very much, but they are unable to see past the child’s disability and temporary suffering. They choose to ignore Heather’s capability of achieving normality and blending perfectly into the mainstream of the society. They are so afraid of losing their daughter once she discovers the true beauty and nature of the world that they are severely limiting, if not abusing, Heather’s right to live normally and competitively by exploiting her youthful ignorance. They are destroying a child’s life that could be salvaged by technological innovation. They want their child to be just like them; they want their child to suffer just like them; they want their child to be confined or even imprisoned in an exclusive deaf community just like them. It is an act of ultimate ignorance and stupidity. True parental love in this case is sacrificing their own comfort and giving Heather an opportunity to relish the life that they were not able to live independently.

  4. Stephen Says:

    The couple that didn’t want their kid to have a cochlear implant seemed to really have a passion and love for the deaf community. It was really interesting since all of us have never been deaf, so we really can’t imagine the bond and connection these deaf people have with each other. I can really see both sides of the story. Obviously, even though the father of the girl didn’t think so, I think that being able to hear is much more advantageous and can open up many more opportunities in the future. The bad news is that this father really doesn’t care what other people think, he just wants his daughter to be like him, which is understandable. Any parent wants his/her kid to be like them; they want to be able to relate to them on all levels, and if this deaf father’s daughter was able to hear there relationship probably wouldn’t be as special and thoughtful as it is now. And like some of the deaf people said, maybe being deaf can be a blessing. Do we see how close that community was with each other and how close the deaf family members were with each other? It almost made them closer than if they had the ability to hear and speak.
    Here is my main point: I feel the cochlear implant can only be most successful if the child is in a household that is only non-deaf. How can a child learn to develop speech and talk if his/her parents don’t talk themselves? The implant may be the best solution for a child in general, but maybe certain situations it really wouldn’t work. I think it is important for the child to have a hearing family, if not, it would be hundreds of times harder learning to speak.

  5. john Says:

    I really don’t think these people are actually looking out for their daughter’s best interests. They don’t want her to have an implant because they want her to be dependent on the themselves and the deaf community. If their child becomes part of mainstream society, they know that she will not spend as much time with them. As a deaf child, the only people she can asscoiate with are members of her family and her small community. These parents are being selfish. They want to force their daughter to have a close relationship with them, by keeping her deaf. They like the idea of have a tight-knit family of all deaf people. With a coclear implant, their daughter would ruin this vision for the parents.

    I do want to be objective here though. I think this thought process works both ways. The non-hearing impared parents don’t want to have a child who is different from themselves (deaf). Those parents could learn sign language, and cope with their child’s handicap, but they choose not to. A “handicap” is a relative term after-all. What is a disability to one person could be an advantage to another.

    Unfortunatley, the problem with this arguement is that a person who can’t hear will most definatley have a far more difficult time getting through life. Honestly, other than the financial issue with the implant (which doesn’t seemt to be an issue at all in this case), there is no reason why the parents of every deaf child shouldn’t have their child’s hearing corrected. A blind couple for instance, wouldn’t refuse to get their kid glasses just so that child could be more like themselves. Parents of deaf children should help their kids just as parents of children with any other correctalbe disability would help them.

  6. Alyssa Says:

    As I watched this movie, although I was very frustrated by the ways that the family was justifying not giving their daughter the implant, I tried to think about what I would do if I was in their shoes. And it became immediately evident, that it is really hard for me to think at their perspective, because I am not deaf and do not deal with the same day to day living style as they do. They live in what they refereed to as the deaf community, and I am part of the hearing community. I cannot begin to imagine life without sound, so of course I am inclined to say that they are being irrational, and in ways selfish. However, they believe that there daughter can get by just fine without the implant because they did. What I think they are not realizing and the point that the one set of grandparents and other hearing family members try so hard to push is that the modern world is a hearing world, and that in order to achieve the highest success that they want their daughter to achieve, that she should be given the implant, since the opportunity is out there why wouldn’t you grasp it, why would you choose to let her struggle as they did growing up. This is the part that the parents struggle with, they don’t believe and are in denial that they did not struggle, and that is the part that frustrates the audience.
    Above Stephen made a good point, how will a child learn to speak and develop their speech if no one else in their house speaks. In the case we saw where the house was all deaf and their daughter got an implant, the daughters speech struggled. The other side where the daughter was the only deaf one in the house and was given the implant at such a young age so she didn’t even fully grasp the idea that she was deaf, is showing two completely different sides to the spectrum. I could see how the program that they had that fully immersed the children in speech only, could scare the parents because part of the parents thought process is if their child does get the implant they think that she will fully lose her deaf identity. However I relate this to friends I have who speak a foreign language in their house and english at school. The way that they have held on to this language is by speaking it every day. So why can’t their daughter speak at school, and sign at home? I think that this is also another point that the parents think just wouldn’t happen. Because they think their daughter would lose her deaf identity all together, which I think would be entirely to impossible since it is already immersed so much into her daily life style.

  7. Taylor Says:

    After watching this video, I realized where both family’s view points were coming from. You can understand what the deaf culture brings to a family where all of the family members are death. While we will never know exactly where they are coming from due to the fact that we are not deaf, you can understand why they did not want their children to be distanced from the way in which they were raised. However, if I had a deaf son or daughter, I believe that I would want them to be able to hear and have experiences that I was not able to have. While the implant is expensive and somewhat dangerous, I would definately want to.

  8. Luke Says:

    I’ve seen the words “selfish” and “ignorant” thrown around in these posts; people accusing Heather’s parents of wanting her to be just like them cause that’s what would make them happy… But it’s not that simple.

    Heather’s whole immediate family is deaf, a couple of her grandparents are deaf, and many of her friends and extended family are deaf. That’s a bond that we hearing people can’t understand. I know that there isn’t a group of people that I feel naturally close to, or that I would say “these are my people” about, or at least not to the extent that the deaf community is able to. This was very apparent throughout the video. Alongside of that, however, was the bigotry that some members of the community displayed towards the hearing world. Suffice to say that among every group, there will be those who become ‘groupist.’ Heather’s parents made it apparent they wanted to protect their daughter from this. That, my friends, is far from selfish.

    I also tend to believe that we in the hearing world and without disability in general really do think that “easy” is equal to “good” in terms of living. Whether looking at the lottery winner who goes into depression or the movie star who commits suicide, it’s obvious that just because things are easy doesn’t mean they are good.

    That said, the family expressed the desire to ‘maintain her deaf identity’ but ‘let her choose.’ The truth is that by delaying the cochlear implant they were effectively denying her that opportunity to choose but in the process solidifying her deaf identity. If they really wanted to afford Heather the opportunity to choose, they would give her the implant and then move from there. It seems as though it is much easier for the child to turn the device off if she doesn’t like it than it would be for her to learn speech at a later age.

    Were the parents selfish? No, I believe they lived in a world that we cannot understand, and we live in a world they cannot understand. They simply did not want to expose their daughter to something they could not protect her from.

  9. RJ Says:

    The people who made this video did a fantastic job of portraying both sides of the dilemma to us as viewers. One second I was starting to agree with one family’s decision, and then it would switch sides of the argument and I would find myself agreeing with the other family! I am not deaf, nor do I have anyone deaf in my family so I have absolutely no idea what it is like to not be able to hear, but I know that I enjoy the ability and I feel that after watching the video I would definitely get a cochlear implant for my child, if he/she was born deaf.
    The one family was worried about their child’s ‘deaf culture’ and I certainly understand that they have lived their life a certain way, and that they appreciate the way they are and the way they do things, however, I believe that it would be a shame if their child had the chance to be able to hear and they didn’t grant such an ability to their child. Hearing makes so many things possible, and makes so many other things easier to do that it seems extremely counterproductive to leave a child deaf if an option is available to make them hear and grow up being exposed to language and everything else out there that involves hearing.
    Granted, every situation is different. For example, the girl that had a cochlear implant and grew up in a house where both of her parents were deaf honestly couldn’t speak too well. On the other hand, the girl who had the cochlear implant and grew up with two parents who were not deaf was a great speaker, so I understand the difficulty of each family’s decisions but still believe that I would get an implant for my child for the main reason that it is a handicap that can be partially (if not completely) corrected, and I would want my child to have every opportunity that the world has to offer.

  10. maria Says:

    Watching this movie made me really sad. Although I understand that deaf people have different lives than hearing people, I cannot grasp the fact that any parent, deaf or able to hear, would want their child to go through life without a chance to succeed and live up to their full potential. I realize that deaf people do not see their handicap as a disability but as a blessing, and they are actually proud to be deaf. I am happy for them in this sense but I still feel entirely terrible for children of deaf parents because they are not given an equal oppurtunity to excel. I was proud when the parents who could both hear gave their child a chance by the procedure of a cochlear implant. I was horrified by the deaf community that looked down upon them for this act, especially their parents. It upset me to hear the grandmother say she wishes she could take away the baby from the mother and take care of it on her own. This movie was a reality check for myself to see how differently deaf people think from those able to hear. Since I am not deaf, I cannot fully understand where they are coming from with their opinions but it was shocking to learn how proud deaf people are to be deaf.

  11. Michele Says:

    I feel the same way as many above have expressed. Throughout the movie I felt myself feeling frustrated and confused at the rationale behind denying Heather the implant. Maybe this is because I have not been completely exposed or engaged in deaf culture, but I do feel that preventing Heather from receiving a cochlear implant was a bit selfish, for lack of a better word, and will only intensify the handicap that she was born with. Not only will she not be able to hear due to her parent’s decision, she will not have the ability to learn speech and will never be able to interact with people at the same level who speak. The movie showed Heather’s frustration when she entered a school and couldn’t interact with the children who spoke. Her family took this as an indication that Heather was not fit for such an environment. However, I feel this is only running away from a problem, instead of attempting to push their child to learn as much as they can and grow. While the implant process would definitely be hard for her, in the end I feel that Heather would have gained more than speech from the operation. An entire world could have been opened up to her, and she would be privileged to communicate with and relate to so many people, both deaf and speaking. The family continually commented that the research they did proved cochlear implants were not beneficial. However, assuming I saw all of the same research they did from the film, I thought nothing any doctor, teacher, or child said was a logical and legitimate basis for not receiving an implant.
    I sympathize with the family because they feel that they would be losing their daughter. However, Heather will always be deaf. I believe that not only would she choose to continue to explore and interact with the deaf world, she would be forced to simply because her family is deaf, and the cochlear implant would not change her handicap. The minute she turned off the device Heather would still be deaf: an unfortunate reminder, but something that should have made the family see that she would never “lose” what they were worried about. I agree with Alyssa who was saying that Heather would simply learn to speak at school sign at home. Clearly she wouldn’t speak at home, so why not try something that could be so beneficial and open so many doors? I can see that her parents may not realize what they are taking away from their child because they do not know what it is like to hear either, but I feel that Heather’s interest should have been enough. The deaf population at the cookout was looking down on joining the hearing world like there was something wrong with us. They said they feel like the hearing world looks down on them, but I felt like I was inferior and not accepted by them simply because I was able to hear. I feel in that sense their argument was flawed.
    I feel that, however, there will always be some things we, as a hearing population, will not be able to understand. I can see how the family was excited about a new member of the family joining the “deaf side.” However, wouldn’t implantation allow the twin to bridge this separation in the family? Especially being a twin, who will face comparisons with his brother his whole life, I think implantation was the right choice.

  12. Kelly Says:

    “Sound and Fury” was pretty intense. The whole concept of neglecting and even rejecting a “cure” for problems is pretty rare in our society, which makes it pretty difficult to relate to some of the stances expressed in the documentary. Still, the picture makes clear the diverse viewpoints throughout the deaf community.

    It’s pretty hard to imagine preventing a child from having sight, but the deaf world has a legitimate concern in cochlear implants. Is it that we are giving a child sound or eliminating an entire race of “inferior” people? After watching “Sound and Fury,” I can really begin to appreciate the difficult situations those with hearing disabled children face. This is further complicated by the brief window of opportunity to successfully implant a child with a cochlear implant—it often is not feasible to have direct (and honest) feedback from the actual person receiving the implant because they are so young. Is this really what they want, or are we just jumping to premature conclusions? In any case, “Sound and Fury” is an enlightening and fair representation of the moral and ethical debates surrounding the enabling marvels of cochlear implants.

  13. Madison Says:

    This movie was very frustrating and challenging to watch. It is hard to try to look at the issue from both sides. I feel that what I felt during the movie is almost not relevant because I am not submerged in deaf culture. I found it hard to relate to why Heather’s parents did not want her to have the cochlear implant. I tried very hard to understand but it is very difficult. From my perspective a cochlear implant would ease the pain a deaf child experiences growing up and would aid in a successful life. I’m not saying the child would not be successful if they didn’t have the cochlear implant, I just think it would be easier with it. One of Heather’s parents concerns was that Heather would not experience deaf culture anymore, but I think she would. She would still use sign language at home with her family and she could even be deaf there if she wanted by not wearing the transmitter. I also believe that by moving to a community with a high percentage of deaf citizens Heather’s family is almost running from being submerged into hearing culture. I do understand though that it is easiest to relate to people who live the same way as you do, and I very much understand that deaf people look at their deafness as a blessing. Even so though, I don’t feel that just because it is a blessing you should prevent your child from having everything they could because you want them to experience your culture. Like the grandmother said, if a whole family was crippled and there was a fix, would they not get it? All in all, I think that the movie did a great job explaining both sides of the issue. This movie did not change my view of cochlear implants. I believe that they are a very useful and wonderful technology that will help kids excel in life and put everyone on an even playing field.

  14. ronald Says:

    After watching the movie, it came as no surprise why it was nominated. It was truly an outstanding film. I must say though, it was extremely frustrated to watch. There were points throughout the film where I wish I could have an opportunity to speak to the people in the film. It bummed me out that the parents that were deaf did not want to give there daughter the cochlear implant. They insisted that being deaf was normal to them and that if their daughter was born deaf they she should stay deaf. I was able to understand why being deaf was normal to them but their is a clear distinction between being deaf being normal to an individual who has been deaf all their life and deafness being normal. Being deaf is not a normality, it is a disability. One has ears in order to hear; that is the use of having ears. Ears aren’t there just for decorations. So for the parents to say that they’d prefer their daughter to be deaf as opposed to being able to hear because it’s normal to be deaf, it makes me see the parents as selfish and inconsiderate. I just can’t see how they could possibly think they’d be doing their daughter justice by keeping her deaf.

    Although technology can be limiting, preventing people to fully exercise their mind and capacity. In situations such as these, technology essentially serves as a miracle.

  15. Sean Margison Says:

    This movie seemed to have sparked a fuse with me. I was surprised and upset at the selfishness and blindness that the deaf family was toward their daughter. The father mentioned how he was able to function in his workplace but how he was limited and would probably not move up any higher in the corporate chain. The mother did not give any premise of having even been previewed to the ‘real’ world as the father had. They claim that the hearing world do not understand their struggle or their position, but they have little understanding of the hearing world. The deaf society in which the girl would be brought up in, have completely shut out the hearing world and condemned those who would think it were a good thing. Its psychological abuse. I can understand how they would want their daughter to understand the deaf culture in which they live and breath, but why deny her the opportunity to function in both worlds. One of their concerns was that their daughter would not sign when she learned to speak. This would be IMPOSSIBLE. SHE LIVES IN A DEAF HOUSEHOLD. OF COURSE SHE WOULD STILL HAVE TO SIGN!!! It is hard to think that the parents are making a decision that’s not out of either jealousy, selfishness, or fear of change; these things are restrictive and harmful to the daughter. I like the grandparents and how they also understand this position and can relate to the parents. I also like how strong the grandparents are supporting the other families choice of cochlear implants. This upsets me that here are all the necessary tools to help this child be successful in any way that she would see fit…but sorry, you can’t because your parents don’t want to give it to you…It’s downright terrible.

  16. alexkas12 Says:

    This video was amazing! I was wrapped up in it the whole time. Surprisingly, I found myself relating to both sides of the spectrum.
    First off, I think everyone should have the same opportunities in life as anyone else. Therefore, I believe that the girl should have gotten the implant. For a parent to know what its like to have a glass ceiling in life, and to know that they could lift that ceiling for their child and not do it is very astonishing to me. I think they are not considering the girl’s life outside of being deaf.
    But at the same time I understand where they are coming from. They have a distinct culture. They live in a different world than us and there is NO way that we can relate to it. Because they have never had hearing, they don’t see it as a limitation. Therefore, they think giving their child an implant is a way to dislodge their daughter from their culture. And I completely understand that!
    It is the same way with the deaf baby in the all-hearing family. They didn’t want their child to be dislodged from THEIR culture. So, they rushed to get the cochlear implant, just as fast as the all deaf family denied the implant.
    All the families want to do is keep their kids in the same world that they are in. I know, this is very hard for us to understand, simply because we are all on one side of the spectrum. But we have to realize that we’re being just as close-minded by not considering the girl to remain deaf, as they are being close-minded for not considering the implant.
    All in all, I still stick with the fact that she should get the implant. Again, this is only because I believe she deserves every opportunity this world can offer her and being deaf does not give her all of these opportunities.

  17. ebstone Says:

    This video is a good representation of the difficulties the deaf face. As we saw from the family in the video, deciding to get a cochlear implant is not easy. There are those who oppose and those who so desire. The parents who grew up and live deaf many would expect to allow their child to get a cochlear implant, to prevent the suffering they went through. However, as it turns out, after living a long life in this deaf culture, they believe trying to help their child experience hearing culture is madness. The child would be missing out on an important part of their born culture. This does not mean that they will not experience it, though, which the parents have a hard time understanding. Of course their child may be able to hear and speak to others, but that doesn’t mean she is going to totally forget how to sign and ignore the parents. The grandparents are right - preventing the cochlear implant will lessen the child’s opportunities. From the experience raising a deaf child, they know what hardships their granddaughter will face.

    Though it is fair to say both sides have a valid argument, I believe allowing the child to get a cochlear implant won’t hurt. If she doesn’t like it, she doesn’t have to use it. But if she never gets it, she never has a chance to experience the beauty of sound.

  18. Shelby Says:

    As I watched this video, I was shocked that the family would not want their child to have the opportunity to hear, especially after at only 5 years, she herself requested to have the surgery to get a cochlear implant. But even though I strongly disagreed with their decision, I tried to keep in mind that their reasoning was based purely on their deaf culture, and because I have never experienced deaf culture, I couldn’t truly understand their point of view.

    My favorite person in the movie was Heather’s hearing grandmother. She forcefully stood up and fought against her own son to support a cause she believed in. Also, even after her son made the decision to not let Heather get the cochlear implant, she still worked with Heather on her speech, and continued to educate her on the possibility of hearing.
    I was glad to see that the other family decided to give Peter a cochlear implant. I believe it was a very smart decision, and he was at the perfect age so that he will be able to hear and learn speech as he grows older. I was unable to attend class on Thursday, but am very excited to watch the sequel on my own because I’m curious as to how the cochlear implant has worked/not worked in Peter’s life.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.