The 'counterfeit Coin' and Cultural Constructions of Blindness

Open Access
Allen, Samantha Jo
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Janet Wynne Lyon, Thesis Supervisor
  • Lisa Ruth Sternlieb, Honors Advisor
  • Blindness
  • Disability Studies
  • Kleege
  • Kuusisto
  • D.H. Lawrence
  • Raymond Carver
  • Disability
As long as blindness has been recorded by sighted writers, it has always stood for something besides an alternative way of life. It was, and in fictional works today, still is used as a metaphor for evil, a means of inspiration, a target of pity—any metaphor that does not directly speak to the truth about the blind as individuals or as a community. Fictional blind characters often evoke a reader’s interest not in the character’s own personal development but rather in what their blindness exposes about the plot or the lesson to be learned in the story. Society was and in many ways still is affected by these stories of the blind community based on what messages they pull from sighted works. When compared with an autobiography, written by blind authors, these works expose a much more metaphorical perception of blindness. Despite that many works do this, there are short stories written by sighted writers that actually uncover insecurities and trauma of the sighted and not of the blind. I examined autobiographies by Georgina Kleege and Stephen Kuusisto and short stories “The Blind Man” By D.H. Lawrence and “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver comparatively in an effort to make more pronounced the individualism and independence of the blind.