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Deaf Identities in the Making:
Local Lives, Transnational Connections|
The Taste of Change
This was certainly a change, and as such a potential turning point in life. Much changed for her when she learned sign language and experienced the ease in communication. She was, however, not enrolled in the deaf school as a resident, as many of the other deaf pupils: “I lived at home, but every week I spent one night there. I was very content and happy for these single nights. But my parents didn’t want to let me stay there more permanently.”
This is a classic conflict. The parents want to have their deaf child at home, whereas the child probably would benefit from being more thoroughly immersed in a Deaf environment. This parental desire is evident through the widespread embodiment of the “spatial closeness is sameness” metaphor (Lakoff and Johnson 1999), which, in Norway and other parts of the Western world, says that you belong to the place where your biology roots are. Hilde comments, “I can very well understand that this is a difficult decision to make. It is hard to see the best solution. But now, today, my mother has admitted that it probably would have been wise to let me spend more time at the boarding school.”
When Hilde was at home for long periods during vacations, her mother now and then sent her away to holiday camps:
The school and some of the holiday camps offered her an environment in which she could communicate with ease. However, her continual moves back and forth between home and school were demanding. She felt divided. Her home environment was still restricted and contained a certain nonacceptance because of the dominant aural/oral mode of communication.
The experience at school did not lead to a thorough revision of her life. She did not yet accept her own deafness, and she was still striving to become “like everybody else,” even if the seeds of change had started to grow.
Returning to the Oral Pathway