Through Deaf Eyes





Through Deaf Eyes


Through Deaf Eyes is a documentary that portrays the life of the deaf in America in the past 200 years. The presented history regarding family life, education, community connections and work offer an insight into the derivatives of the deaf culture. As narrated by Stockard Channing, interviews are used with education reformists, actors, historians, and deaf citizens on the diverse views of identity, language use, and technology. The film in its part presents issues of conflicts, affirmation of the humanity meanings and prejudice on the parts of the deaf. Controversies on American Sign Language, creation of America’s first deaf school and a university’s election of a deaf president are all contained in the film. Through Deaf Eyes is an informative and life-changing film that requires understanding by all humans.


From the beginning of the film, the projected image of the deaf history does not take a sentimental view. In its part, it enables the understanding of the physical reality of an individual being deaf within the American society. As such, it made me realize the difficulties that such individuals go through within the setup of families, communities and the society. I also felt that there was no clear indication of the intention within the film’s production. There was confusion as to whether it was meant to exercise change of attitude within members of the community or rather an embrace with traditions in the demeaning sense.   

            As a beginning sign language student, the film enables one realizes the struggles that were instituted into enabling the teaching forms. For example, it was depicted that at first, people thought that being deaf was not normal and that the state was not welcome. In addition, the first steps that were used to institute sign language enabled teachers who could only read and teach how to decipher the lips while in speech. The use of sign language at the time of 1860 was not even allowed and it made communication between the deaf people even more difficult. Consequently, the deaf people were secluded on their own as they led their lives with separate social groups, churches, and schools.

            Sign language is not an easy a learning entity according to the contemporary society. So many struggles have to be passed through before acceptance. Up to the 20th century, signs were not enabled in the classrooms. Upon the association formed for the purposes of the deaf, different changes witnessed throughout the process make me appreciate the use of sign language today. It enables an identity within the deaf while commanding audience to the rest of humanity. The struggles and sacrifices that were endure helped chart the proper way for the deaf community in the present.


The film Through Deaf Eyes is an informative and life-changing film that requires understanding by all humans. It avails the historical processes of the introduction of sign language within the society while views of identity, language use, and technology are portrayed. The film presents issues of conflicts, affirmation of the humanity meanings and prejudice on the parts of the deaf. The society should embrace the deaf people and enable policy-making standards in the quest for easing sign language-use. It should be instituted in all forms of communication up to including public media entities since the qualities and capabilities of the deaf are vital for the general good of society.  

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