Monday, June 2, 2008
More on Words
Now, I’ve done no research on this but…
When Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher, was able to make her student understand that the patterns she was signing on her hand corresponded to things around her – she might, for example, pass her hand under water, and then sign “water” on her hand, over and over again – Keller’s world opened up. Language and words, connected her to the world, it broke her out of her isolation.
On the other hand, words are also binding. For example, the women in Jean-Luc Godard’s Two or Three Things I Know About Her repeatedly demonstrate that our words confine our view of the world, assign it a biased value. It might be as simple as calling something a woman, or a shirt blue that bounds our perspective. In this sense, it is politically liberating to break from these codes.
Are these contradictory experiences?