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The Analysis of The Book "Alandra’s Lilacs" by Tressa Bowers

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The Analysis of The Book "Alandra’s Lilacs" by Tressa Bowers Essay

In the book “Alandra’s Lilacs,” author Tressa Bowers describes her life experience as a young mother. Losing two sons and raising a deaf daughter was not easy as I could imagine. Tressa had dropped out of high school and her marriage, well that wasn’t going so well neither. After she got pregnant, her husband, Sug and her moved to his mother’s in a small town called Pleasant Hill in Illinois. On the bright side, Tressa’s motivation was her unconditional love for her daughter, Alandra. Sadly, Tressa began to have suspicions about her precious five-month old baby girl being deaf. She wasn’t sure where those thoughts came from until she remembered about the time she babysat Sug’s nephews and nieces.

Alandra’s regular pediatrician was unable to diagnose her, so he recommended Tressa take her to see an ear specialist. It was nerve racking the day of Alandra’s appointment but Tressa held it together because she knew that it would be beneficial to know for sure if her daughter was deaf or hearing. After the doctor was finally done with all of his many examinations on Alandra, he diagnosed her as stone deaf. However, the doctor was not done after he said that. He continued to express to Tressa that Alandra would never be able to talk and probably never have a good education because of her lack of communication. Sadly, the doctor continued to make blunt and unexpected remarks. He finally concluded that there was nothing could be done to heal nor help her. (Bowers, 17) Tressa was very disappointed with the way the doctor told her Alandra’s diagnosis. I too, thought it was very unprofessional of a doctor to say such things to a mother who has just found out that her daughter is deaf. He didn’t have to sympathize with her, but he could have definitely taken a better approach to the situation than he did.

Throughout Alandra’s childhood, she attended several different educational programs which allowed her to learn various ways to communicate with others. At a very young age she started out in an oral program which was very strict, gestures and signing were not tolerated. Their belief was that deaf children would be able to speak as well as hearing ones. They believed that with the reinforcement of the oral method each day from a young age, the children would definitely be able to speak well. Alandra then attended a total communication program. This was the first time she was exposed to sign language. Tressa was never a big fan of signing, so she never got her daughter involved with signing. She had a fixed mindset on the oral method, that it would work and be the way she communicated with Alandra.

After learning some sign language at that program, Alandra then attended a residential school for deaf children. Tressa and her husband had to move because of financial issues and there was nothing they could do to avoid the move. Although Alandra attending the residential school was very hard on Tressa, Alandra would benefit greatly from this program. She improved tremendously on her signing and even began teaching her mother.

Finally, Tressa moved once again due to her divorce and Alandra ended up at a mainstream public school. I wouldn’t say that it was bad decision because Alandra knew her language, it was just a different one from that of the others. I personally believe that the best one was sending her to the residential school. This was where Alandra learned sign language which was the foundation of her being able to communicate with others. Although it was a difficult decision for Tressa, it was a worthwhile sacrifice. I’m sure that if I was in this situation I would have reacted the same way Tressa did in being totally heartbroken to send me baby girl away

During Alandra’s teenage years, she made several friends and even was gifted a text telephone. Tressa did an excellent job in raising her beautiful daughter. At nineteen years old, I have not even thought of having children. However, if I did have, I would probably make sacrifices just as Tressa did for their education. My father always taught me that the one thing no one can take from us is our education, the knowledge we have and the things we’ve learned. Alandra attending Gallaudet University was always Tressa’s dream as a mother. And it was going to come through. However, Alandra wouldn’t last. She felt as though she had already known everything they were teaching her and she was right.

Alandra was taking preparatory classes because of her test grades. This reminds me so much of myself as one point. When I moved to New York City, I had to repeat eighth grade even though I had completed it in Guyana. It was very frustrating to have to relearn everything all over again. Now, as a college student there are many times I am in doubt and feel overwhelmed. However, I cannot imagine how disappointed my father would be if I ever called him and said I was coming home. He is very educated and knows how my college education will benefit me; and is determined to see me through the four years. A for my mom, she too would be distressed because of all the time and money spent to get me where I am. I must be grateful and show gratitude to my parents by showing them great results in making something good out of myself.

By the end of the book, Tressa had fell in love with sign language. Earlier in the book she was dedicated to having Alandra educated through the oral method because she wanted her daughter to be able to speak proficiently.She never gave sign language a chance. Tressa had opened her heart to sign language when she saw it was the best way for her to communicate with her daughter. After seeing how happy Alandra was with her husband, Chad and their children, Tressa was determined to learn more. After all, if she wanted to converse with her grandchildren, and be active in their lives, she would have to be excellent at signing. She even got several of her other family members to get involved in the sign language class. It was like a dream come through for Tressa, acceptance from her entire family in addition to the time and effort being put in, to learn this beautiful language.

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