25 November 2012
Many writers share their experiences about literacy and language. The writer Helen Keller wrote The Day Language Came into My Life, an essay where she tells the reader her experience with how she learned how to speak, read and write even though she is blind and deaf. Amy Tan wrote Mother Tongue, an essay where she talks about the trouble of speaking English as an immigrant in a new country. Frederick Douglass wrote Learning to Read and Write, an essay where he talks about becoming literate during a time when slaves were not allowed to read and write. They all talk about literacy in their own ways, but at some point they all had some similarities in their experiences. Although they all had obstacles in their path to literacy, they took these as a challenge and overcame their difficulties through hard work, encouragement and a willingness to learn. After talking about these writers, I will write about similar obstacles I have faced with language and how it helped me recognize my relationship to literacy.
In the essay, The Day Language Came into My Life by Helen Keller describes how she first learned that every object has a name. She said “Everything had a name, and each name gave birth to a new thought” (Keller). She was blind and deaf at the age of eighteen months as a result of a disease, but still she learned language and literacy. She said, “‘Light! Give me Light!’ was the wordless cry of my soul, and the light of love shone on me in that very hour” (Keller). Her teacher Anne Sullivan helped her to learn about literacy. Sullivan put Keller’s one hand under the spout and wrote the word “w-a-t-e-r” (Keller) with finger on the other hand. Keller understood “that w-a-t-e-r meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand” (Keller) the connection between what she felt...