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Sound of Metal

aysha.s's picture

Riz Ahmed's acting as Ruben Stone delivers the emotional turmoil of suddenly losing hearing through his eyes filled with disbelief and the sudden outbursts of crying or destroying his music equipment. His panic and confusion had the potential to blind him from adapting to this new version of himself; however, with the proper support from the deaf community, he came to find ways to appreciate the nonhearing world and its endless possibilities. For instance, in the scene in the playground where Ruben starts using the slide as an instrument with the student, using the vibrations as a way to generate music. Without realizing it, he connects to music even when he believed hearing was essential for music.  

Just as Ruben was learning to adapt to his new community, we realize that he has been holding on to the idea of returning to his old life for too long. Instead of trying to return back to music, he wants to bring back the exact life he once left behind, ignoring the fact that everything and everyone around him, including Lou, have been moving on. As a result, he sells his RV, music equipment, and all the memories and attachments away to regain hearing and his old life. In the process of gaining the money, he unknowingly gives away everything he once loved and admired. His unresolved emotions and conflicts leave him without music and a deaf community. 

This is where my conflict arises: was it right for Joe to kick Ruben out for getting a cochlear implant? I understand the stance Joe took about equal access to treatment; however, there is a lot of diversity within the deaf community. As cochlear implants are becoming more and more accepted, does that mean their identity as nonhearing disappears completely? Moreover, people with cochlear implants are easy to spot with half of the mechanism on the sides of their heads. Therefore, they cannot erase the fact they were once nonhearing; instead, they have the ability to recognize that being nonhearing at some point in their life is still an important characteristic of their personality as a whole.