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Deaf Women's Lives

Three Self Portraits

Bainy Cyrus, Eileen Katz, and Frances M. Parsons

Publication Year: 2005

Three deaf women with widely varying stories share their experiences in this unique collection, revealing not only the vast differences in the circumstances of their lives, but also the 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, 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.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press

Series: Deaf Lives Series


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p. 6

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pp. 8-11

I am fairly certain that none of the authors whose words fill the pages that follow have read the work of French feminist theorist, H

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All Eyes

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pp. 12-109

It was indeed a wondrous day for my mother, having finally gotten her wish after bearing a string of three wild little boys. Mom collapsed on the delivery table with a sigh of relief when she saw the absence of a tiny weenie as soon as I slipped out of her womb. As an adult, I can imagine that excitement..

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Making Sense of It All: The Battle of Britain Through a Jewish Deaf Girl’s Eyes

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pp. 110-199

The first time that something seemed different was one morning in September 1938, when I was six years old.We had been back only a few days from our summer holiday and were in our little red brick house, 46 Wormholt Road, Shepherds Bush, London W2, having breakfast at our square wooden...

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I Dared!

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pp. 200-315

In 1970, Dr. Mervin Garretson, who was then the Executive Director of the Council of Organizations Serving the Deaf, visited Argentina to see how deaf children were being educated. While he was there, a group of deaf adults asked him to send a spokesperson on behalf of deaf children....

E-ISBN-13: 9781563683282
E-ISBN-10: 1563683288
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563683213
Print-ISBN-10: 1563683210

Page Count: 314
Illustrations: 15 photographs
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: Deaf Lives Series
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OCLC Number: 68045396
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Deaf Women's Lives

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Subject Headings

  • Parsons, Frances M., 1923-.
  • Deaf women -- Biography.
  • Cyrus, Bainy.
  • Katz, Eileen.
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