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To Sign, Or Not To Sign

906 words - 4 pages

In “The Day Language Came into My Life”, Helen Keller recalled the time she learned how to use sign language. As an infant, Helen had the ability to both see and hear, but at eighteen months old, she suffered from a severe illness that caused her to lose her seeing and hearing abilities, thus making her both blind and deaf. Three months before she turned seven, Helen’s parents hired Ms. Anne Sullivan to teach her sign language, and show Helen the world around her. Frustration ensued between Helen trying to learn sign language, and Ms. Sullivan trying to teach Helen sign language. Reading about Helen’s struggle to learn sign language reminded me of the time I started to learn Spanish and how frustrating it would be for me.
Before Ms. Sullivan came into her life, Helen did not know what the future held for her. Helen questioned the reader, “Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in, and the great ship, tense and anxious groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen?” (Keller, 1). Helen felt this way until Ms. Sullivan approached her, and Helen let out her hand, mistaking Ms. Sullivan for her mother. Helen and Ms. Sullivan’s first interaction would soon lead to a powerful friendship full of ups and downs. When I first walked into my Spanish class, I saw my teacher ,and did not really know what to expect out of both the class and my teacher. My teacher, though, would soon become an inspiration for my interest in Spanish.
To start Helen off on the right foot in the world of sign language, Ms. Sullivan spelled the word “doll” in Helen’s hand while Helen played with one. As Helen stated, “I was at once interested in this finger play and tried to imitate it” (Keller, 1). Although it took her a few attempts, Helen succeeded spelling doll in sign language, and she felt very proud of herself for accomplishing her goal. When I first started to learn Spanish, I started off with letters and numbers. Like Helen, I became interested in learning this new language, so I started to try to imitate saying my letters and numbers in Spanish. Eventually, I prevailed, and I too felt proud of myself. However, Helen and I had a long way to go in learning a new language.
As Helen worked her way up, she soon began experiencing some difficulties. When Ms. Sullivan tried to teach Helen the words “mug” and “water”, Helen got confused and mistook mug for water, and vice versa. This caused frustration for both...

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