Going Blind: A Memoir

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SUNY Press, Mar 15, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 241 pages
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Mara Faulkner grew up in a family shaped by Irish ancestry, a close-to-the-bone existence in rural North Dakota, and the secret of her father’s blindness—along with the silence and shame surrounding it. Dennis Faulkner had retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disease that gradually blinded him and one that may blind many members of his family, including the author. Moving and insightful, Going Blind explores blindness in its many permutations—within the context of the author’s family, more broadly, as a disability marked by misconceptions, and as a widely used cultural metaphor. Mara Faulkner delicately weaves her family’s story into an analysis of the roots and ramifications of the various metaphorical meanings of blindness, touching on the Catholic Church of the 1940s and 1950s, Japanese internment, the Germans from Russia who dominated her hometown, and the experiences of Native people in North Dakota. Neither sentimental nor dispassionate, the author asks whether it’s possible to find gifts when sight is lost.
 

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Contents

1 Blind Spot
1
2 Blinders
15
3 Blind
39
4 Turn a Blind Eye
65
5 Blind Faith
99
6 Blind Prejudice
119
Unable or unwilling to perceive or understand
139
Insensible unaware lacking intelligence andconsciousness narrowminded with no openings or passages for light
163
To dazzle to dim by excess of light to eclipse
189
Notes
199
Sources
217
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About the author (2012)

Mara Faulkner, OSB, is Associate Professor of English at the College of St. Benedict. She is the author of Protest and Possibility in the Writing of Tillie Olsen and Born of Common Hungers: Benedictine Women in Search of Connections.