Blind Characters by Caitlyn

Setting is described as a backdrop against which the characters act out their events. When you read books, watch movies, or read manga you may notice that the setting is completely out there. A lot of it is described thoroughly, giving you an image that stays in your mind. I decided I wanted to try something new and different. Blind people cannot see but can hear, smell, touch, and taste more accurately than anyone else. A Canadian research investigation team is investigating a link between vision and the other senses. They have found that blind people are better at localizing sound and even differentiate between different sound frequencies. “The supposed enhanced tactile abilities have been studied at a greater degree and can be seen as early as days or even minutes following blindness,” says Champoux, the director of the University of Montreal’s Laboratory of Auditory Neuroscience Research. “This rapid change in auditory ability hasn’t yet been clearly demonstrated. When we speak or play a musical instrument, the sounds have specific harmonic relations. In other words, if we play a certain note on a piano, that note has many related ‘layers.’ However, we don’t hear all of these layers because our brain simply associates them all together and we only hear the lowest one.” Blind characters allow you to really delve into your setting. Smells, noises, textures are all things that need to be taken into consideration when writing setting from a blind girl/boy’s point of view. After all they cannot see grass, the sky, colors, or the animals. For example: The house is large with red walls and a black roof. That would be a normal setting. How I would write it from a blind person’s point of view would be: I could feel the sun’s heat wafting off the house. It’s large mass blocked the winds that run over the land. A window must be open, the noises from inside slipping out to play in my mind. A scrumptious smell swelled, assumedly a spicy stew. My helped softly encouraged me up the steps. One step at a time, she whispered. The door was hard under my fingertips. It’s splitting wood pricked into my fingertips. You wouldn’t have gotten all of that from a character that can see. They describe colors, typically not scents. They describe what they see, typically not what they hear. I’m sure we all, or most of us at least, remember Avatar: the Last Airbender (the animated one, not the movie) and their iconic character Toph. She was one of the most diverse, personality driven, in depth character. She also showed that blind characters do not have to be useless. She was so use full that the other characters often forgot that she was blind. If any of you have watched the Book of Eli then you know that Eli, played by Denzel Washington, was a blind man. He was still able to use his hearing, touch, and smell to fight his way through the post-apocalyptic America. Star Trek fans must remember Geordi Le Forge from Star Trek: the Next Generation and it’s feature film. He was a naturally blind man who was able to become chief engineer. Kenshi from the popular Mortal Combat series is blind as well. My point in naming off these blind characters is to tell you how blind character can be used in literature or on the big screen. You don’t find a lot of blind characters but the ones you do always make the story a little bit better. I challenge you to try writing a setting from a blind person’s point of view too!

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Posted on March 25, 2016, in Editorial Board Essay. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. This is really cool!

  2. I completely agree with this! I have only experimented with a blind character once, and really enjoyed it! I will have to try it again sometime. Nice post!

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