Zachary Welsh’s Thoughts on Cultural Commentary: Communicate with Me and “Alaska” by Savarese

For today’s readings, I was actually really interested in and inspired by our readings by Savarese and so I really wanted to not only do my write-up on his works but also just share some of my general thoughts on them and how they relate to class.

One of the first readings we did for today by Savarese was Cultural Commentary: Communicate With Me. Here, Savarese describes to readers his experience of living with autism and how his social and. school life were influenced by it. Savarese opens his piece by explaining to readers that during his school years, no one. really talked to him because they didn’t know how to, not only shedding light of societies’ lack of inclusion, but also touching base on the. societal divide between able bodied people (or The Frees as Savarese refers to them) and disabled individuals. Savarese also takes the time to directly address some of the questions others have been afraid to ask him, as well as giving tips on how The Frees are able to help. While of course providing said helpful ideas to the readers, perhaps the biggest tip Savarese gives is when he says to “Look at and talk to¬†me, not to the facilitator.” With this tip serving as a reminder to readers and his schoolmates that he is a person just like any of us and when being addressed, the speaker should look at no one other than him.

With “Alaska”, readers are actually given the opportunity to experience Savarese’s work firsthand. The poem, while short, manages to brilliantly portray the feeling of isolation felt by Savarese as well as touch on facilitated communication. The said message of isolation is particularly felt in the line “great icebergs feel the cries of hurt / just. like they’re trying really, really to be free.” It can also be seen when Savarese says “forever then they have to let go / your hand trying to go.” In terms of the facilitated communication aspect, the author points out how Savarese uses the tree as a stand in for himself and his speaker, stating that the leaves (Savarese) “yearn for freedom” and the branches (his facilitated speaker) “live forever.”

I would love to hear your thoughts on the works mentioned above or even on the other things we read for today so feel free to drop some comments below!