Oliver Sacks

Topics: Neurological disorder, Neurology, Epilepsy Pages: 2 (762 words) Published: October 25, 2008
The world can be perceived in many different ways. The blind, the deaf, children, adults, teenagers, parents, all “see” the world in a different way. It is an author’s job to convey how he “sees” the world to his readers. Oliver Sacks does this quite well. Through his use of analogies and other rhetorical strategies, Oliver Sacks greatly enhances the reader’s view of a newly sighted man’s life and in turn, the reader’s view of the world. In the beginning of “To See and Not See,” by Oliver Sacks, the reader is introduced to the subject of the essay, a fifty-year-old man named Virgil, who has been blind from early childhood. Virgil, at the urging of his fiancée, submits himself to a surgery that will help him regain his sight. When Sacks hears about Virgil’s case, he is immediately interested and wants to fly to Oklahoma to meet Virgil as soon as possible. Sacks had read of a few other cases, such as Valvo’s patient H.S. and Gregory’s patient S.B., in which the subjects had a great deal of difficulty adjusting from the world of the blind to the world of sighted. It is Sacks’ intent to visit Virgil and “not just test Virgil, but to see how he managed in real life. It was only later that Virgil explained that this feat was his “showpiece. They might have seen something totally different. In this essay, Sacks’ goal is to show the reader Virgil’s life and how he is adapting to the visual world. Reading the case studies of other doctors may have affected Sacks’ view of Virgil. Sacks recounts how Virgil interacts with the world while at the zoo, at a restaurant, and in his own home. Everything is “seen” in a different way by different people. By reading about these other patients’ problems adapting to the seeing world, Sacks may have flown to Oklahoma to meet Virgil with several preconceptions about what he would find. Robert Coles states, “Events are filtered through a person’s awareness, itself not uninfluenced by a history of private experience” (177). Sacks compares...
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