Deaf & Hearing Authors: A Literary Comparison
Alexandria Roman ‘11
Faculty Sponsors: Drs. Gina Chapman, Dee Malone, Susan Washburn and Kelly Harrison-Maguire
English and Special Education for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing major Alexandria Roman combined her interests to explore the differences in style between deaf and hearing authors in her project, A Literary Comparison of the Writing Styles of Deaf and Hearing Authors.
The Deaf community contains a vibrant culture, complete with its own language, idioms, and peculiar practices and behaviors, yet Deaf literature is rarely examined on a literary, rather than linguistic, basis. Roman and her faculty sponsors compared a collection of memoirs and short stories originally written in English by Deaf and hearing authors, using three aspects of literary style: themes, frequency and type of literary devices, and average sentence length. The results of the research suggest that the two writing styles, while different in some important ways, share universal themes and structures.
This project was a life-altering experience, according to Roman. “It served as a perfect blend of both my majors and has greatly helped me focus my areas of interest for future study,” says Roman. “I loved every minute of the research.”
For Roman, the project served as a springboard to being named a Fulbright Scholarship finalist, to pursuing additional research involving Deaf students and science education, and to certification in elementary education and secondary English education.