Analysis Of Johnny Belinda And Children Of A Lesser God

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Johnny Belinda (Harris, 1948) and Children of a Lesser God (Anderson & Medoff, 1986) are two renowned films that feature deaf characters as the movie’s main character. Belinda McDonald is the main character of Johnny Belinda, and Sarah Norman is the main character of Children of a Lesser God. These two stories both portray deaf women with outside hearing men whom they each fall in love with. Unfortunately, they also both suffer sexual abuse by the hearing communities. Although Belinda and Sarah share these commonalities, perception of the Deaf Person in society reflected in the movie has dramatically changed in thirty-eight years of differences. In Johnny Belinda (Harris, 1948), Dr. Richardson meets Belinda, who is an intelligent deaf girl, …show more content…
One of the commonalities between two movies is the setting of the characters. Sarah and Belinda are both deaf women who fall in love with the hearing man whom are from outside of their communities. In Children of a Lesser God (Anderson & Medoff, 1986) James was a new teacher who transferred into the Deaf School. As he settles into the community, James sees Sarah, working as a janitor and wishes to help her. Soon, they learn more about each other, and fall in love. In Johnny Belinda (Harris, 1948), Dr. Richardson was a new doctor who has recently came to town in place of the prior doctor. Belinda lived in the small town, mostly in her father’s farm, so she did not receive any education or learning from the Deaf Society. Knowing that there was an education for Belinda, Dr. Richardson helps Belinda to learn the sign language. Spending time with each other, they slowly fall in love. Towards the end of the film, Dr. Richardson wrote a letter to promise to take care of Belinda, expressing his love. Another important common feature is the sexual abuse by the member of hearing community. According to White House Council, around the time of mid 1990s, women with disability were in four times more risk to be sexually assaulted than women with no disability. (White House Council, 2014) Locky McCormick, who was well known individual in the hearing community, sexually assaulted Belinda at the …show more content…
A deaf woman, who gets sexually abused by the people of hearing communities, falls in love with a hearing man outside of the community. However, their attitudes of the hearing communities are the extremely different. Belinda was innocent and Sarah was resentful. Between the 38 years of change in society, the perception of the society towards Deaf Culture has also changed in historical context. On November of 1975, Education bill of PL 94-142 has passed. This Education for All Handicapped Children Act assures free and individualized education for all students, regardless of disability. (Schuster, 1985) This act just does not assure education, but this assures an equal right of people with disabilities. In addition, this education bill represents the understanding the disability. They acknowledged that there was a need to be different education for each individual with disability, and these perceptions of the society was also well portrayed in both film in depth. Belinda was called “Dummy” or frequently portrayed as if she was not able to do routine activities such as going to church. The lack of understanding of people with disability changed its perspective to understanding of disability itself. When Sarah went out with James to the restaurant, the server did not give Sarah a strange look, but understood that she had a disability. Having a

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