After reading Deaf Again I learned a lot of new things I didn’t know about Deaf culture and was drawn in by the story of Mark Drolsbaugh. “The hardest fight a man has to fight is to live in a world where every single day someone is trying to make you someone you do not want to be ” – e.e cummings. I was brought into the book immediately from this quote and realized how difficult it must have been for Mark to find his identity. He was trying to hang on to his hearing in fear of going deaf as if there was something wrong or not proper with being deaf. It took him a long time, twenty-three years to realize that the Deaf culture is receiving and it was there for him to embrace the entire time. It would be difficult to be able to hear and then slowly lose your hearing while having to communicate in the world we live in. Both his parents Sherry and Don were Deaf and I enjoyed reading the part where Mark was brought into this world through childbirth and the signing and conversation that was going on inside while the process was taking place. Like the anesthesia machine not working, which had to have been painful.
I learned that the many doctors did not or maybe still do not know about Deaf culture. Also, that many of them did not approve of sign language, and expected them to be able to use speech like the majority with hearing aids and therapy. It was known as a hearing world and teachers and relatives felt this was true and would try to persuade his parents from communicating with Mark using sign language. On a young boy growing up I could not imagine what he would be thinking. Shock, denial, anger would be some of the emotions he and his relatives, like his grandparents had to go through. People frowning on deafness like it is a disease that you don’t want or having other children making fun of you because you sound funny when you talk. Schooling would be very frustrating and difficult especially at a younger age. Being the only dead student at GFS would make it hard to make friends. Trying to find a job where nobody has the time or patience to ask a question twice or talk slower to get what they want. Also, not having ASL as an accepted language yet he was forced to use his hearing aids and pathologists. All of these things were “roller coaster rides” for him, but his grandparents were always there for him and taught him a lot of important lessons growing up. Religion was also an integral part of his life, where he went through Judaism, Christianity, and Quakerism.
When Mark told Linda that he would except the job as dorm supervisor at PSD he started his first step towards Deaf culture and never looked back. This was his first step to what he called Deaf Pride. It took him a while to understand the importance of ASL. Attending Gallaudet was his first full- blown reaction to Deaf culture. The president down to the students, were all deaf. After taking the time to join into the Deaf culture Mark struggled, but to him it became a blessing from above and throughout his experiences he made a lot of spiritual references, which I believe made him a stronger individual. Graduating from Gallaudet, then marrying Melanie and having a child were all blessings to him. He went through a lot in his life. Being the only student to graduate high school from GHS while dealing with his grandfather’s cancer, which later claimed his life.
This book was very interesting and I learned quite a bit about Deaf culture. I’ve found that there is no definition of what constitutes a deaf person. There is so much diversity among deaf people. I read of the difficulties Mark had to face in his life and how he conquered each one learning knew things on the way. He went through so many stages growing up like hearing toddler, hard-of-hearing child, deaf adolescent to culturally Deaf adult. This book helped me better understand Deaf culture. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and found it very informative.