On the Miracle of Language

Helen Keller with Annie Sullivan, July 1888
Helen Keller with Annie Sullivan, July 1888

In “On the Miracle of Language,” Miller and Jurecic explain that language is commonly thought of as both “a sacred gift” and a functional communication tool (134). But they urge emerging writers to put aside these common ideas, and focus instead on the “creative, generative, exploratory powers” of language (134).

As you compose your reply to this post, first summarize and explain the ideas about language Miller and Jurecic want you to consider, then reply to their prompt reproduced in italics.  As you close your comment, include a paragraph about how doing this exploratory writing might contribute to your development of your literacy narrative.

The water pump scene in The Miracle Worker derives in part from all the frustration, rage, and anger that precedes it: the endless hours of instruction that seemed to have no payoff; the screaming; the thrown food. Without the miracle at the pump, Helen Keller might have spent the rest of her life unable to communicate her thoughts to others except through physical behavior, in particular gestures of frustration and protest.

When you reflect back on your own experience, when was the moment that you felt most fully incapable of making yourself understood? What prevented others from understanding you? What did you do following this experience? Was there a way, at some subsequent moment, to bring about mutual understanding, or are there some experiences that simply cannot be expressed? Write [for the rest of the class period] about that moment, doing your best to render the truest representation of your experience at the time. (136)

Please respond by way of a comment on this blog.

31 thoughts on “On the Miracle of Language”

  1. Miller and Jurecic are saying that language is universally known. Making a personal connection to language or anything helps make it easier to connect. My first college essay I had no idea what was going on.I wasn’t using an open mind and i didn’t do my best work.This can help me with any situation because i can look back at it and say i can get through anything.

    1. Doc, these exercises are meant to be practice in integrating your ideas with others. Think of them as mini-essays rather than as questions to be answered. A more robust consideration of the ideas in M & J and a stronger text-to-self and self-to-text connection are called for. Don’t miss opportunities to practice the skills necessary to write the second paper in the course.

  2. In, “On the Miracle of Language,” Miller and Jurecic point out a couple types of languages that they want us as readers to consider. The first type of language presented which was also the first act of the first human was the act of naming. In the passage it mentions how once God created the heavens and earth, he placed Adam in the garden of Eden to name every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens as well the helper God sends him. Adam’s first act upon meeting her was to give her a name, which is how Adam and Eve came about. Miller and Jurecic want the readers to consider that with the act of naming you gain the powers to persuade and deceive.

    A moment that I felt most fully incapable of making myself understood was in the 3rd grade. My reading skills were poor so I was one of the kids during reading time that had to go with another teacher to practice my reading while the other kids stayed in the room. It felt as if I was never going to get better but I knew that with time and restraint I was going to progress. My teacher was making me read  passages from kids magazines and articles every day. Reading fun magazines and articles always caught my attention as a kid which gave me more motivation to read and get better. As time went on, practicing with my ESL teacher turned out to have a very positive impact on me. My skills were progressed and I eventually didn’t have to be apart from the reading groups anymore.

    Doing this exploratory writing contributes to the development of my literacy narrative in many ways. The exploratory writing exercise caused me to think harder about ideas because I had to recall moments in the past where I was down on my reading skills. With the literacy narrative I also have to write about a time in the past where I was troubled in reading and writing. Having similar prompts helps and keeps me in the right path which prepares me even more for the literacy narrative.

    1. Hi Josh, this is an interesting response to Miller and Jurecic. You point out that “with naming” comes to power to persuade and deceive. In a way, your school named you as someone needing reading help. Do you think being named in this way empowered you, got in your way, helped, created problems for you?

  3. Miller and Jurecic consider language to be a sacred gift and a functional communication tool. What they also talk about is letting go of these so called common ideas and embracing and focusing on new more creative, generative and exploratory ways of language.
    In all honesty I cannot remember a time in which I was incapable o making myself understood. Or at least I can’t remember a time in which I couldn’t be understood. I usually do a very good job of making sure that others understand me in what I’m either saying or writing so I don’t sound stupid.

    1. Alex, these exercises are meant to be practice in integrating your ideas with others. Think of them as mini-essays rather than as questions to be answered. A more robust consideration of the ideas in M & J and a stronger text-to-self and self-to-text connection are called for. Don’t miss opportunities to practice the skills necessary to write the second paper in the course.

  4. I think they want us to try and be, “creative, generative, exploratory powers with which language endows us all. They want us to engage in the power of writing.

    The moment where I felt I was most incapable of making myself understood was when I was asked to write about myself and how I am as a person, I had to think for awhile I didn’t know what to write, I didn’t know myself. What prevented others from understanding me is having a different attitude everyday. My classmates didn’t really get me because some days Id be active and other days I just sat there and did nothing. Some experience just couldn’t be expressed. At that time I was lost, confused and misunderstood. Thinking to myself I should know this, but I did not at the time. This might relate to my narrative because Im writing about myself in english class throughout the years and I got confused a lot during that time with all kinds of stuff

    1. Hi Alex, you point out that Miller and Jurecic say that language has the power to explore. Use language to explore your own past and make sense of it: what accounts for these different attitudes on different days? How were you “lost, confused and misunderstood” in English class?

  5. Jurecic and Miller Both want us the see language as a “functional communication tool” and as a “gift”. Its a great way to talk to each other using our moths and ears or we can talk with our hands using sign language as people have to do when someone is deaf and can’t hear. They explain it using two examples, one being Adam and Eve using language to name all the animals and two being Helen Keller and how she was deaf and blind so she had to use a special type of sign language in order to communicate with language.
    A time for me that it was hard to make myself understood would have to be my freshman year and I had been doing drama for 9 years at this point but it was a new school with new people and nobody really knew me. I wanted to try out for the high school play but everyone kept on coming up to me and asking why I was doing it and if I was even good enough. It was hard for me at the time to get words out and to tell them that I have been doing plays for years and that I was experienced, just because I didn’t look like someone who would do plays no one understood that it was just something that I loved to do. If someone asked me now why I was doing it I would be able to answer a lot quicker than before and make my self understood.

  6. Senior year was a wild ride for me, literally. I played football, I competed as part of a crossfit team and I had also relatively recently battled pneumonia which left me at 70 pounds in the hospital. I’m sure it was either Monday or Wednesday, as those were my two high intensity training days. I remember almost being home, I passed the Mobil gas station on the corner of Dunstan, a place a drove by every day to get to and from school. Here’s where it all gets blurry: That gas station is the last thing I remember of my drive home, as my memory after that, is of me in an ambulance.

    I had totaled my car, passing out a minute from home which then caused me to drift into on coming traffic. The doctors told me it was from lack of food, I had done about 6 hours of physical training, 6 hours of school and had only had a bowl of cereal. I just remember being scared. Waking up in the ambulance was beyond scary, and the worst part was that I couldn’t even talk. I don’t know if I was in shock or what, but words just weren’t coming out of my mouth. The paramedics asked me what hurt, and to be honest, everything did. However, as I tried to tell them what was in the most pain, I found myself unable. All I could do was point. I was so angry, so frustrated and so confused. I never really took into account how important words and phrases could be. Like the story of Helen in “On the Miracle of Language” I really just wanted to throw a fit. I think it was at this moment I truly started to appreciate how blessed I am to even be able to speak. Words taken at face value are just letters, organized in a certain way to form something that has meaning, but they’re so much more than that. Words are thoughts, they bring to life what our brains cannot. Imagine what it would be like, to constantly have thoughts, ideas, and to never be able to share them. For me, I would feel like my body and mind were a prison, and that’s what it was for the 15 minutes I couldn’t talk.

    I look at words in a much broader scope now, they’re a way to resolve conflict, to learn from each other, to make our ideas concrete and spread knowledge. Words are power, and as insignificant or bland as they may seem at times, no word has less value than the other. They allow me to express myself, to vent may frustration and to say when I don’t agree, they allow not only me, but all of us to live.

    1. Nick, what an experience! You’ve literally been unable to make yourself understood because you couldn’t talk. I can see how this connects to Miller and Jurecic thematically, and you do a nice job tying your experience to the Helen Keller story. I wonder what parts of Miller and Jurecic’s own argument about language resonates with you? What parts do you share, which would express differently?

  7. Miller and Jurecic are trying to get across to us that language can be taught and learned several different ways. Language is an amazing tool and someone like Helen Keller to be able to understand language is truly a miracle. I believe that doing this exploratory writing will be beneficial to my literacy narrative because I will have a better understanding of how language is incredible and can be displayed in several different ways. Using different types of language in my literacy narrative will help me catch my reader’s attention better and make them feel more engulfed within the story.
    Throughout my own experiences, I sometimes have a difficult time getting across to people what I am trying to say and the significance of what I am saying. I remember going towards the end of my junior year in high school, my personal finance class was talking to some upcoming freshman in high school. These kids asked us how different high school was from middle school and I told them that it is a lot more work and that you actually had to budget your time to do homework and study for tests and quizzes, otherwise you would fail. They laughed at what I said and thought it was a joke, and then I told them about the detention policy for missing two homework assignments, and they started complaining to me that life was unfair and everything else. Sure enough, the same kids I talked to that previous spring were getting in trouble for not doing homework, and came to me and told me that I was right. They needed to budget their time and mature from their previous habits.

    1. Paul, interesting story. Can you connect it back to part of Miller and Jurecic’s theory about one or more specific powers of language? What interfered with the meaning you were trying to convey to the frosh? What does that say about the limits of language as a form of communication, or the specific conditions that need to be in place for language to work in the ways M & J say it does?

  8. When you reflect back on your own experience, when was the moment that you felt most fully incapable of making yourself understood? a time when i felt incapable of making myslef understood is at my house when the liquid behind my eardrum refilled and i couldnt hear and tell my parents at the correct voice tone or volume , cause my parents never really truely understand how i feel about a topic especially during this time. What prevented others from understanding you? a reason why i was prevented from telling them how i feel is morally, miscommunication, would go against how they would see me as. What did you do following this experience? i followed as i need a solution to this Was there a way, at some subsequent moment, to bring about mutual understanding, or are there some experiences that simply cannot be expressed? W there was after the liquid was drained from ears.

    1. Hi Caleb, the purpose of these exercises is to give you practice summarizing and responding to others’ ideas and then integrating your ideas with others. You should think of these as mini-essays rather than short-answer questions. Don’t miss an opportunity to practice skills you’ll need to complete the second essay in the course.

  9. Miller and Jurecic explain that when we think about the power of language, most of us think about communication – the ability to take action in the world by exchanging words in oral or written form (134). This is a pretty practical way of thinking about language. Language does work for us, and enables us to do work. Like commanding someone, building or ending a relationship with someone, teaching someone. I like the way Miller and Jurecic put it, though: “Words allow us … to make contact with the world and with each other” (133). That sounds practical, for sure. But it also sounds pretty miraculous, creative even.

    The authors of Habits of the Creative mind point to this miraculous capacity of language with their examples from Genesis (133). Adam names the elements of God’s creation, and in so doing, makes them conceivable, literally, thinkable. Without language, how could Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel, and humanity learn how to cultivate the earth and husband the animals, and to convey that knowledge through the generations? Miller and Jurecic want emerging writers to embrace the idea that writing is essentially generative, which when I think about it, means something like procreative. Language enables us to create ideas, to explore our world and ourselves beyond what we already know. To produce something new in the world that will outlast us, or at least, have some autonomy.

    Reading about Helen Keller, who couldn’t see, hear, or speak, makes me wonder about what it would be like to be unable to use language to make sense of the world. Pretty scary I think. I mean, language is a storehouse of the wisdom of the past. In words like “slimy,” our ancestors teach us to be wary of certain animals or spoiled food, and then I can apply what I’ve learned to unscrupulous people who are likely to take advantage of me. Without language, I’d have to experience everything as if for the first time, and rely on my own resources to get by.

    While I can’t experience the world the way Helen Keller did, I can remember times when I was utterly inarticulate, unable to make myself understood. I remember sitting in a graduate school seminar at the University of Minnesota back in the early 1990s. The course was meant to prepare us to teach American Studies at the college level. Each week, one or more of us was responsible for presenting a lesson we had designed and getting feedback from our peers. When it was my turn to present, I explained a lesson plan centered around films that mythologized historical events. At the heart of my unit was a discussion of westerns starring John Wayne, including Stagecoach, The Searchers, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. I focused on teaching students how to see the technical elements of film and to inquire into how the films built up a mythology about the west that celebrated masculinity and the autonomy of men gained through violence. I wanted students to be able to explain why films like these became so popular in the 1940s, just when American men were being asked to give up considerable autonomy and work in big corporations, where they would have to take orders from other men and swallow their anger (and put down their fists) if they wanted to earn a stable paycheck.

    I thought I had a pretty good lesson. When I finished, I sat back and waited for the admiration of my peers. I got some of that. But a few minutes into the discussion, one student, I’ll call her Maya, who was a student in both the American Studies and American Indian Studies program pointed out that my lesson plan repeated the historic erasure of Native Americans from West. She said that I had enacted a symbolic genocide, by placing all of the emphasis on the John Wayne characters. She explained that this lesson had nothing to say about how the myth of the West basically functioned to make a history of genocide seem a natural and inevitable.

    You can imagine how I felt listening to Maya. I thought of myself as a good liberal, a student of history, and generally a person sensitive to the way racial violence has shaped American history. So, I was angry, ashamed, and defensive. I tried to explain myself, and defend myself, but struggled to find the language to answer her criticism. Instead of listening, thinking, and responding, I spoke to protect myself and maintain my sense of myself. “Does every lesson in a class like this have to focus on the sins of white people?” I asked.

    Maya got angry and, in sharp phrases, explained that until European-Americans showed signs of replacing the Western mythology with a view of American history that incorporated the perspectives of Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans and all the other peoples, whose experience of America hadn’t been as empowering, who had been targeted by violence, and who continued to live in the legacies of colonialism, then, yes, every lesson about the West needed to focus on the sins of white people.

    That day didn’t go well for me. I had a lot to learn that I was unwilling to learn that day. I didn’t have the language available to me to interrogate my own thinking and arrive at a new understanding. When I think back on it, I now recognize the incredible favor Maya did for me, asking me to think about the larger implications of the choices I had made designing my lessons. But then I was too young, too arrogant, and too secure in my sense that I understood the world to accept her gift. I think if I tried to reach out to her now, Maya might not remember me. After all, I was just one more myopic white guy in need of schooling. But I hope that my choices since then reflect what she taught me.

  10. Miller and Jurecic explain their ideas of langue through two examples. The first was Adam and Eve and Adam uses langue to name all the animals and Eve. The second was the story of Helen Keller a young blind death speechless girl who had no way of communicating until she is taught by Annie Sullivan to communicate through signing on the palm of her hand. Through these stories Miller and Jurecic explain that langue is important and key to expressing the thoughts in our heads to other people.
    A time for me that was particularly difficult to make myself understood was in 9th grade and I was on the cross country team and my friends that were not on the team would ask me why I did the sport and liked running. I think now I could easily explain why I enjoy running even though it can be painful at the time though it was a difficult thing to explain to people.
    Reading this has helped me think about how I express my own ideas and reflect on my past to help others understand me and can definitely help contribute to my literacy narrative.

  11. In, “On the Miracle of Language,” Miller and Jurecic point out a few different types of language. The first type of language Miller and Jurecic touch upon is that humans got the first act of naming. In the story it refers to how we have the power to give animals and other things a name. We have the power to put a label on things. The other type of language that gets touched upon in this writing is how Adam and eve give us the power to persuade and deceive. They say ,” we’d like you to suspend the idea that language is an everyday miracle or a scared gift,” (134) instead they insist we should, ” highlight the creative, generative, exploratory powers which language endows us all.”(134) They want us to look deeper into the concept of language and not look past it as if it was easily handed to us.

    One of my own personal experiences that I felt fully incapable of being understood occurred in the second grade. I was in class, during reading time. I never liked to read out loud as a kid, in fact I hated it. I would always miss pronounce words and didn’t read as fast as everyone else. My teacher knew about how it made me uncomfortable. Since she understood, she would always skip over in the circle so I would never have to read. I was happy she understood, but none of the other students did. Everyone would always say, “We skipped Hannah,” or “Why doesn’t she have to go.” I never knew what to say to them. There was no student who could understand because my teacher was the only one who knew I was on an IEP at the time. I didn’t even understand what that was at the time, so there was no way anyone else could. As the years went on I never did have to read out loud in class. Having an IEP was difficult and I didn’t want anyone knowing. Now, I have learned from my experience and I no longer care who knows about my IEP. I am lucky, I am few who get to say I they are no longer on an IEP. I grew so much as a student over the years, my school realized I no longer needed the extra help. Now, I am happy to have experienced that, as it was a stepping stone that made me a better student.

    I can work this into my literary narrative by focusing more on my explanations throughout my story. I can make sure the reader really understands where I am coming.

  12. Miller and Jurecic explain that when we think about the power of language, most of us think about communication – the ability to take action in the world by exchanging words in oral or written form (134). This is a pretty practical way of thinking about language. Language does work for us, and enables us to do work. Like commanding someone, building or ending a relationship with someone, teaching someone. I like the way Miller and Jurecic put it, though: “Words allow us … to make contact with the world and with each other” (133). That sounds practical, for sure. But it also sounds pretty miraculous, creative even.

    The authors of Habits of the Creative mind point to this miraculous capacity of language with their examples from Genesis (133). Adam names the elements of God’s creation, and in so doing, makes them conceivable, literally, thinkable. Without language, how could Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel, and humanity learn how to cultivate the earth and husband the animals, and to convey that knowledge through the generations? Miller and Jurecic want emerging writers to embrace the idea that writing is essentially generative, which when I think about it, means something like procreative. Language enables us to create ideas, to explore our world and ourselves beyond what we already know. To produce something new in the world that will outlast us, or at least, have some autonomy.

    Reading about Helen Keller, who couldn’t see, hear, or speak, makes me wonder about what it would be like to be unable to use language to make sense of the world. Pretty scary I think. I mean, language is a storehouse of the wisdom of the past. In words like “slimy,” our ancestors teach us to be wary of certain animals or spoiled food, and then I can apply what I’ve learned to unscrupulous people who are likely to take advantage of me. Without language, I’d have to experience everything as if for the first time, and rely on my own resources to get by.

    While I can’t experience the world the way Helen Keller did, I can remember times when I was utterly inarticulate, unable to make myself understood. I remember sitting in a graduate school seminar at the University of Minnesota back in the early 1990s. The course was meant to prepare us to teach American Studies at the college level. Each week, one or more of us was responsible for presenting a lesson we had designed and getting feedback from our peers. When it was my turn to present, I explained a lesson plan centered around films that mythologized historical events. At the heart of my unit was a discussion of westerns starring John Wayne, including Stagecoach, The Searchers, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. I focused on teaching students how to see the technical elements of film and to inquire into how the films built up a mythology about the west that celebrated masculinity and the autonomy of men gained through violence. I wanted students to be able to explain why films like these became so popular in the 1940s, just when American men were being asked to give up considerable autonomy and work in big corporations, where they would have to take orders from other men and swallow their anger (and put down their fists) if they wanted to earn a stable paycheck.

    I thought I had a pretty good lesson. When I finished, I sat back and waited for the admiration of my peers. I got some of that. But a few minutes into the discussion, one student, I’ll call her Maya, who was a student in both the American Studies and American Indian Studies program pointed out that my lesson plan repeated the historic erasure of Native Americans from West. She said that I had enacted a symbolic genocide, by placing all of the emphasis on the John Wayne characters. She explained that this lesson had nothing to say about how the myth of the West basically functioned to make a history of genocide seem a natural and inevitable.

    You can imagine how I felt listening to Maya. I thought of myself as a good liberal, a student of history, and generally a person sensitive to the way racial violence has shaped American history. So, I was angry, ashamed, and defensive. I tried to explain myself, and defend myself, but struggled to find the language to answer her criticism. Instead of listening, thinking, and responding, I spoke to protect myself and maintain my sense of myself. “Does every lesson in a class like this have to focus on the sins of white people?” I asked.

    Maya got angry and, in sharp phrases, explained that until European-Americans showed signs of replacing the Western mythology with a view of American history that incorporated the perspectives of Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans and all the other peoples, whose experience of America hadn’t been as empowering, who had been targeted by violence, and who continued to live in the legacies of colonialism, then, yes, every lesson about the West needed to focus on the sins of white people.

    That day didn’t go well for me. I had a lot to learn that I was unwilling to learn that day. I didn’t have the language available to me to interrogate my own thinking and arrive at a new understanding. When I think back on it, I now recognize the incredible favor Maya did for me, asking me to think about the larger implications of the choices I had made designing my lessons. But then I was too young, too arrogant, and too secure in my sense that I understood the world to accept her gift. I think if I tried to reach out to her now, Maya might not remember me. After all, I was just one more myopic white guy in need of schooling. But I hope that my choices since then reflect what she taught me.

  13. A moment that I felt most fully incapable of making myself understood is when it comes to me explaining the things i most desire. Typically when I talk about the things I like I ramble and rant on about what I like the most, which ends in the person i was explaining it to to be very confused and not understand me.
    What generally prevents others from understanding me in other topics is that I have no idea what I would be talking about which would cause me to sound like a wild baboon. To try and attempt a recovery of how crazy i would have sounded I would change topics and act like the previous topic of discussion never happened.
    To bring a mutual understand to what the other person and I were talking about I would usually wait for them to make a completely confused facial expression and then I would simplify what I was talking about into smaller words.

    1. Ally, when you write about being incapable of making yourself understood when you really want something, it makes me think about other emotionally intense situations during which a person might have a hard time saying what she means. I think of my own efforts to speak at my Grandfather’s funeral. Without Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” I would have struggled to say how I felt about my grandfather. Are there other emotionally intense situations where you feel like maybe you don’t have the language to express your meaning in a way that another person would understand?

      1. Yeah I feel like that what you said is true, I have a big issue with myself and opening up about what has happened in my past. Because that is how I see it; I see my past as my past and I like to move forward and start everything a new.

  14. Miller and Jurecic were saying that language is very universal and you just have to make these connections that help you understand it. One of the only times that I felt like I couldn’t make myself understood was the initial moment of writing my college essay. I had spent hours working on this essay to turn it into my English teacher and have him completely change it. I had this man for English for two years and not once did he try and get to know me. This man was so set on the way that he wanted to see my essay that it started to not sound like me I had completely lost the whole point of my essay. It got to a point where I had to completely stop asking him for help on my college essay because it wasn’t helping me. This could help me with my literacy narrative because it really made me think about my frustration with my junior and senior year English teacher, and it would give me something to add to my essay.

    1. This is an interesting situation, Meg. I wonder where the communication breakdown happened. When you write that “not once did he try and get to know me,” you seem to suggest that people have to have a shared connection or sense of shared obligation or understanding with one another to communicate effectively. Is it possible for people to communicate if both parties aren’t actively seeking to understand the other?

  15. Miller and Jurecic go beyond the standard idea that speaking and writing are the miracles. In their writing, they explain how language is only possible because of us. That “the miracle of our being able to make ourselves known to each other becomes possible only with practice” (135). It is not something that is entirely natural. We have to work to achieve our level of understand of the world. Names and words create a deeper meaning of life.
    Looking back now, the only moments in my life that I have not been understood, is due to my own lack of understanding. Words and emotions never connected in my early childhood and expressing myself was a challenge. Words are how we communicate to one another; but when you’re young, sometimes you just don’t know enough words. Failing to express myself, that typically results in frustrations and anger. Much like Helen Keller.
    Interestingly enough, last night I tried to imagine counting sheep. Not verbally counting sheep, only visually. Each sheep would have a number on it but I wouldn’t say it mentally. I found that the image was a lot less clear until I contributed words into my thoughts. Words give focus and clarity to our thoughts.
    As for our literacy narratives, we are trying to recall moments of our lives where we were impacted. By writing it down, the story becomes more defined and described. It becomes clearer as does our understanding of it. When I first started writing, I hadn’t thought my piece could become so developed. I thought I would be unable to do anymore than just scratch the surface of it. But now I’m diving deeper into the past and making more connections to who I am now. By adding words to my past, I’m recapturing what has been lost to time.

  16. Miller and Jurecic talk about the miracle of language in different ways from the story of Adam and Eve to the story of Helen Keller. From Adam and Eve the story is told that Adam is the only man on earth. With then God creates and other person Eve, where Eve meets a serpent that deceives her and causes her to disobey God’s command. And with the story of Helen Keller she is a blind deaf and speechless person that most of her life had no way of communicating with the world. Until this women comes into her life and teaches her that are ways to communicate with the world. The human language is a powerful thing that is able to achieve great things. From the way that is can cause someone to do things that they know is wrong and do it anyways. From helping people be able to talk to the talk even if they have no voice.
    Joining soccer was probably the biggest thing that I could have done in my life. It became my favorite sport, a place to hangout and meet people, and a way to relieve stress. But the thing is no one really understood what is did for me. I felt like no matter what no one hear what I was trying to say. I lost close friends from playing and I lost people that really cared about me because I spent so much time on the field. But through playing it’s away to express myself and truly be who I’m suppose to be.
    This little writing activity contributes to my writing literacy in a way that it helps you find your voice and helps you discover a ways that your voice was heard.

  17. Miller and Juercic point out to us different types of language. They tell us the story about Adam and naming the animals as they pass by and that’s how we got the first act of human, naming. They go on to tell us that the reason God gave him a girl from his rib was so that he wasn’t alone. Again Adam named the girl Eve. Miller and Juercic go on to tell us that Adam and Eve is how we got the the power to persuade and deceive. They want us to ” suspend the idea that language is and everyday miracle or a sacred gift”(134). Instead they want us to ” highlight the creative, generative, exploratory power with which language endows us all” (134). They don’t want us to look at language as something we’ve always had because it was given to us by God. They want us to dive deeper into it and figure out what language means to us. Miller and Juercic want us to realize that language is a truly amazing thing and we develop it in our own way.

    I think a time I felt incapable of being able to make myself understood was in my history class when we would do debates. Nobody would want to listen to what he other person would have to say and it usually ended in arguments because of this. I just continued talking when others would try to yell their point over mine. I didn’t give up or get frustrated. Eventually people learned to listen and to respect everyone’s stories and thoughts.
    This has helped me realize that not everyone can take to language and writing and reading as easy as others. This piece doesn’t really reflect any on my literacy narrative just because i’m not writing about a block in my language rather a hard time.

    1. Your story about debates is a little similar to my story about being unable to listen to and accept criticism. I wonder to what degree careful language use might enable people of different viewpoints to connect, and to what degree the adverarial format of debate actually prevents a real exchange of views, real communication?

  18. Miller and Jurecic say, “we also want you to pry language loose from the clutches of communication, where it figures as a hammer that gets the job done, and of rhetoric, where it acts as a silver tongue and artfully persuades. Against these visions of language’s function, we would like instead to highlight the creative, generative, exploratory powers with which language endows us all.

    1. The communication between Hellen Keller and Sullivan go far beyond speech and words. The power of connection between Hellen and Sullivan is what brings them to communicate. Spelling out water on Hellen’s palm and physically proving to her that water is an object communicates what water is.

      Reflecting back on my past and realizing what made me understand the topic at hand is physical and visual communication. Thinking back to my time in middle school, I always struggled with math. The teacher would have to go over rules and proper techniques multiple times for me to understand and grasp the topic. I would never understand the topic the first time it was presented to us. Other classmates would keep moving forward to the next problems and I would still be on the first one. The other students had trouble understanding why I didn’t get the topic. For most just a vocal understanding is enough to help them understand.

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