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Word Count: 1,122
In the beginning there was only silence James Leeds says at the very beginning of Children of a Lesser God and out of that silence there could come only one thing Speech Thats right Human speech So speak he could not have been more wrong In this opening speech James appears to establish silence and by extension deafness as bad and speech and sound and hearing as good This is the distinction which most deaf people learn at a young age Sarah learned this distinction from her mother and her teachers but chose as an adult to reject this explanation and establish a definition of her own Deafness is a silence full of sounds the sound of spring breaking up through the death of winter The words that make this phrase are beautiful the signs that give this phrase life are deeply moving The struggle then throughout the play becomes one of making those who have ears however residual their hearing might be able to hear Orin and Lydia have some hearing - not enough to allow them to function in the hearing world without assistance but some hearing nonetheless Lydia has a crush on James and refuses to listen to anything but her own heart strings She is oblivious to how her behavior affects Sarah and she will not listen to Jamess voice or Sarahs signs when they not so indirectly talk to her about watching television Orin is deaf to anything that does not fit his vision of protecting the deaf As a deaf man who speaks relatively clearly and reads lips Orin is a good candidate for one to bridge the deaf and hearing worlds But he is entirely wrapped up in his cause deaf teachers for deaf children When James takes Sarah out to dinner for the first time Orin becomes jealous and begins to refuse to listen to James What had once been a vibrant student-teacher relationship
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