Class will be canceled because I will be attending the Conference on College Composition and Communication. Instead of meeting in class, you will post to the discussion board space I will set up on our class website (it will be called Discussion Board 298 located under the syllabus tab for our class). I will give you complete instructions on how to access the discussion board via email.
Your assignment: post roughly 300 words to this discussion board about "Switched at Birth". Answer this question: How do the different interviews change your opinion/perspective of the events of the story/people involved over the course of the radio program? After you post your 300 words, read what your classmates write and post a 200 word follow up that responds to one or more people on the discussion board.
After listening to the “Switched at Birth” episode of this American life, my perspective of this topic evolved. The podcast was really dramatic in the sense that you have these two girls who were born and they grew up in a completely different family than who created them. Mrs. Miller who had a clue about the switch for a long time made me really frustrated as a listener because I could not even begin to imagine being raised in a completely different lifestyle because the hospital simply mixed me up with another baby. I thought it was really interesting that the parents did not even want to argue with the doctor about the switch because he had been good to them.
Growing up those girls think that they are one person and suddenly several years later they are told that they are really someone else. The interviews helped me a lot, because the story became more well rounded and was not one sided. If you had just heard Mrs. MacDonalds side of the story or just Mrs. Millers, the story could have been morphed into a completely different story. Although. by the end of the story I felt really horribly for Marti who was having a difficult time settling herself. I really grew a strong frustration towards Mrs. Miller for keeping a secret so long. This is not a “little white lie”, that is a secret that affects the lives of two living beings. Sue seemed as though she was able to get along and speak with both families with more ease than Marti.
You could tell that the switch caused a lot of heartache to both of these families. Especially the girls who were involved with the switch. The girls grew up and always were different from the families that they were supposedly born and raised in. I could not imagine going 20-30 years into life and finding out that my mom and dad are different from the ones that I grew up with. The people who you raise you are the ones who influence who you are as a person most. By being raised in your birth family, you may have been a completely different person than who you have grown up to become.
When it comes to Patrick’s response, I completely agree. When first listening to the podcast you immediately begin to place the blame on Mrs. Miller. The confusion as to why she waited so long to tell the girls definitely placed confusion amongst all within the situation that also carried over to us as listeners. But, then as the story goes on, as Patrick points out in his blog, the shift of blame then goes towards her husband.
I found it very interesting reading Patrick’s blog, because I discovered that we had a lot of the same ideas. We both immediately placed the blame amongst Mrs. Miller but then shifted our blame to her husband based upon the aspect of power. I found this to be very interesting because reading the blogs on the page; our other classmates also blamed Mr. Miller.
I believe that this is the aspect of telling a good story. The narrator did an extremely well job on balancing the idea of interview vs. narration, allowing him to direct he story but not lead it. He used the narration to lead into the interviews, which allowed us as listeners to develop our own sense of emotion, resulting in our idea of whom is truly to blame in this situation. This is why I believe that Patrick and I, along as our other classmates developed the sense that Mr. Miller had an extreme influence on this situation.
Switched at Birth Response: Patrick Scannell
For a majority of the podcast I wanted to blame Mrs. Miller for her poor handling of the situation. The fact that she knew from the start and then waited 43 years to tell the girls made it seem like she was alleviating guilt. Listening to the interviews of Sue, Marti, and Mrs. McDonald they all felt like Mrs. Miller had placed the burden of the secret on them. However, when you finally hear Mrs. Miller side toward the end, the blame shifts more toward her husband Norbert.
I think it is important to keep in mind that the year the girls were born in is 1951. Women didn’t hold the same power in the household they do today. The fear and worry in Mrs. Miller’s voice is very genuine because she truly believed if she disagreed with her husband, it would not only destroy her marriage but the lives of her six children. It is brought up throughout the podcast how the Miller’s struggled with finances and that Marti shared a room with her five other siblings. It was sad hearing the regret in Mrs. Miller’s voice that this 96 year old women was forced to keep a secret and love a child for the sake of her family. I couldn’t help but think of the Bobby Dunbar story and how Mrs. Dunbar was kind of put in a similar situation.
In the end I wonder if Mrs. Miller needed to tell the girls or could have just kept the secret. Sue felt isolated after the truth came out, especially when she recalls her brother dancing with Marti. However, Sue became accepted by both families while Marti struggled to keep either one. Overall, even though everyone is hurt by the secret in some way, things work out to an extent. Both girls get a chance to be part of two families, each trying to do their best to adapt to gaining a new member.
Switched At Birth Response: Alexandra Bowden
Patrick, I thought your response to this topic was fantastic. The ending of your topic was really interesting. I think the girls did deserve to know about the switch. I feel like if they hadn’t grown to learn about it they would be missing a part of who they are. Even though if they didn’t know about the switch, they may not realize that, that particular part was missing. The girls will now be able to go about life and spend time with both families.
The whole topic regarding women holding lesser power during those times I also believe played an important role. If Mrs. Miller had told about the switch, she did not want to cause devastation and damage to her family. Her marriage was important to her to. Family to women in this time period and early years was of upmost importance. That is what their life was. But I do believe that finally she came to that point in her life that she needed to share the information with the girls. So that they could understand more about themselves because families do influence who we are and become as people growing up. But I also think if the switch was a not known, then grand child and children don’t know who there real relatives are. You then would make a whole generation a secret!
-Response to Patrick - Julie Tremblay
After reading your response I couldn't agree more with the first statement that you made. I also felt as though Mrs. Miller was in the wrong at first for keeping this whole thing a secret for so long. I personally wouldn't be able to live with myself if I knew! I really liked at the end how you said how you wonder if Mrs. Miller could have just kept it a secret forever and not told the girls. This was an interesting thought because I had to really think about that and couldn't come up with a definite answer. Would she have given in under the guilt or taken it to her grave to save her family? Also, I agree with the statement about how wives were in a way below their husbands at this time. Who was she to just go against the “man of the house?” She knew that if she did this she could have potentially ruined her marriage and would have made things worse. I thought that this was very interesting because it is definitely something to consider when listening to stories to know when and where they took place because that can affect your entire view of how you look at the outcomes.
Switched At Birth Response to Patrick: Victoria Annese
Patrick, your response was extremely well developed and I could not agree more with what you wrote. I think my favorite part of your response was when you said, “I think it is important to keep in mind that the year the girls were born in is 1951. Women didn't hold the same power in the household they do today.” I think many of us forgot this part when listening to the podcast, which is why most, including myself, blamed Mrs. Miller for a good portion of the podcast. Times are very different today compared to how they were in 1951 which is why it is hard for us to completely understand what Mrs. Miller went through. Although, hearing the honesty, fear and pain in her voice during her interviews gave us a good look into how she felt during that time. I think the way you finished your response was rather unique and gives us a lot to think about and consider. Personally, I was too busy being upset with Mrs. Miller for waiting 43 years to tell the women about the switch to even question whether she should have just continued to keep the secret; it is an interesting thought though.