Against All Odds: Oral History Assignment

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Date Submitted: 11/09/2013 11:44 AM

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English 0102

1 April 2013

Against All Odds

People face physical challenges every day, some of which are severe while others are much more minor…these challenges define us as individuals . Overcoming even just the simplest of events speaks to the strength that the human body possesses. More serious challenges that people face can leave scars not just physically, but emotionally too, altering people’s perceptions in the wake of these challenges. These perceptions influence the way someone may tell their story of the obstacles they overcome. They may omit information or may not tell the story in the order that the events occurred forming each person’s own unique history. My godmother. A wonderful strong willed woman, she fought against an extremely aggressive disease that attacked her lungs and made medical history surviving through a surgery that had never been performed. She began her story with “It was just an asthma attack” and in those words there was overwhelming emotion. As we continued on through the interview she constructed her story and I learned a great deal about what she went through, and in hearing her words they formed a much deeper meaning, their own narrative.

One particular aspect of my godmother’s oral history that I found most interesting was her inability to maintain organization or a chronology in the telling of her story . She consistently jumped from topic to topic as if there was just so much on her mind to talk about that it was too difficult to organize into a chronological order of any sort. For example, my godmother would be describing the events of her first lung transplant and then would transition to years before with the birth of her son. The lack of organization made her history quite hard to follow, but in review of the interview I was able to piece a more ordered story together. I looked to find relations with the events that Robin placed “out of order.” Although, at first glance the events showed no relation, upon deeper...