Analysis of a “Words Left Unspoken” “Words Left Unspoken”, by Leah Hager Cohen, describes a close relationship she had with her grandfather when she was a child. She has been an author, a writing instructor, and an interpreter, but most importantly – a loving granddaughter. She writes directly to families or friends associated with deafness. Cohen wants them to realize that being deaf may hinder a person, but it can also amplify life in an extraordinary way.
Cohen’s usage of concrete details to describe hearing is her best portrayal of the five senses. The mural of sounds she works into her essay are so eloquently written it helps the reader picture perfectly what is happening. In almost every paragraph she makes sure to include some type of demonstration concerning intonation. Cohen does an amazing job of relating the sense of touch in the paragraph dealing with the hand game she and her grandfather used to play.
When she explains the hand game, the touch of her grandfather’s palm clings to the reader as if they were there themselves. This really catches the reader’s attention and pulls them into the story. A similar instance of skillful writing to the senses is related to taste. Cohen deliberately points out a scene where she sat and ate with her grandfather. Through the use of carefully chosen anecdotes, Ms. Cohen draws the reader into the fuzzy dream of her remembrance.
The reader is able to sit in a black leather chair and watch the legs of strangers brisk by the apartment’s windows. From the carmel-sweet aroma of baking apples to the rich and zesty smell of stuffed cabbage simmering in her grandparents’ tiny Bronx apartment, scents fulfill the room. Her essay about the lack of a sense does a superb job of painting portraits of the other four. Throughout the essay, Cohen creates a sympathetic and compassionate vibe by giving detailed and delightful observations of her deaf grandfather.
She tells of heartfelt memories spent with her grandfather playing games and other bonding activities. They leave the reader with a warm feeling. Although she achieves this feeling within the reader, Cohen does a poor job of concluding the essay with that emotion. The ending expresses her disappointment with not ever being able to sign with her grandfather before he passed. This leaves the reader with an unfulfilled expectation, leaving a taste in the mouth both bitter and sweet, matching the author’s unfinished memories.