Humorous Language

My goals for this paper is to go into depth about how literature influences my perspective on the world and my perspective towards myself. It's to learn about myself and provide my audience with a perspective on the idea and the reasoning and purpose behind humorous language. I am proud of how much this paper really exhibits my voice, it isn't just a mindless piece of writing. MY language, the way I speak, is clearly present in the paper and it provides a much more personal piece of writing that is specific to me. However, I feel that I should have used quotes more efficiently because while they do relate with what I am talking about, I don't make more of a stronger connection between the quote and my thesis.

Advanced Essay #2:
Nick Ryan



Advanced Essay #2

When I first started high school at SLA, I was terrified. I knew going in that I was going to be the only deaf student there and I didn’t know how the other kids would respond. Would they pity me? Would they start to avoid me? I constantly thought about what everyone else would think, and as a result, I completely changed my behavior and attitude to make myself more appealing to everyone, so it would be easier for me to make friends. I often wore nice plaid shirts and jeans, which is not my style at all, and I acted bubbly and friendly. One particular day in the first couple weeks of school, I was in biochem. I was wearing my awkward SLA lab coat, feeling like a geek. We were doing a lab involving changing the color of fire with the Bunsen burner at the back of the room at the lab tables. The lab tables are connected in two’s and our group was focused on working on the lab. Across from our side of the table, one of the group members came up to me. She was curious about my deafness, and by this point, she was the first to ask me about it. Shit, now I gotta explain my whole situation and she’s gonna pull the whole pity act towards me now.

“So, what are those things in your ears?” she said.

“Hearing aids, I’m deaf.” I said, cringing at every word.

“Oh… Were you born deaf?” Here comes the feeling sorry act.

“No, but, I lost it at a pretty young age, 17 months.”

“How’d you lose it?”

A thousand thoughts ran through my mind like buffalos stampeding through the plains, migrating, each of their steps holding the same powerful impact. I didn’t know how to respond to this. I wanted to just say the truth, explain myself and get it over with. But, something bothered me, I felt like if I did, it would just make her feel bad for me. So, I did something I never normally do. I made a joke about it.

“Oh, well, these aliens came and abducted me and performed experiments on me. They messed up with their probing and screwed up my hearing. And now here I am.” She actually fell to the floor laughing. I could feel all of her nervousness exhibit through her laughs. She was nervous asking me about something so touchy. My joke helped relieve all that tension she was feeling about asking me about my hearing aids. I was amused. Her laughing made me laugh and all of a sudden, I didn’t care too much about everyone acknowledging my deafness. All I had to do was joke about it, and no one would take it so deep.

As I’ve grown over the years, I’ve realized that language, extroverted, humorous language has always been a coping mechanism for me. I’ve consistently joked about my pain as if it were a simple trick, a silly story. All the pain that I have with my family, all the pain I have being deaf, all the pain of anxiety, I told to others in a humorous manner. I believe I did this to somehow convince myself that it’s all a joke and that it isn’t at all as serious as it seems. I’ve also did this to convince others that I wasn’t this torn apart kid who felt constant loneliness, scared of being left out of society and being treated as an outcast. I strongly believe in the Whorf linguistic theory, the idea that literature can influence its audience’s perspective, except literature influenced my perspective on my world. Literature is not only words on paper, it’s how we communicate with people. In a way, it’s made me more aware of myself. James Baldwin argues that people use language to “describe and thus control their circumstances.” I agree with this statement because that is the very thought process I have when it comes to talking about pain in my life. I use humorous language to control and release the pain that resides within me. I’ve seen this to have a negative effect on those close to me because they can’t seem to take me seriously and I don’t blame them, I consistently joke around and rarely am I ever serious. Even when I try to be serious, I can’t help but go into my joking nature again. It is a habit that refuses to die. Baldwin has emphasized on the idea that “Language, incontestably reveals the speaker.” My humor reveals a lot of what I go through in life, but it also reveals my attitude towards it, and that tends to throw people off because of the idea that I should care more about the subject. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I have a need to dull the pain. It’s as if it will somehow dull the pain and make me sound more modest about my pain.(Sherman Alexie, 13) I’ve never seen this as necessarily a bad thing because I love making people smile, laugh and just be happy, if my pain can make them feel that way, then why should I cease to do so? I am coping with my pain by expressing it in a positive fashion and as a result, people are entertained. Humor and language is a coping mechanism for me because I’m not speaking to myself or keeping my thoughts restricted in my mind or on paper, but instead I am opening up about it to an audience and receiving a reaction to it. Humor and language is a form of therapy for me.