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  1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    A story set in the American Civil War following a woman with no connection to Grant..

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Link the Writer, Jul 22, 2011.

    A new mystery idea popped into my head.

    Set during the American Civil War, it follows a deaf woman named Holly Grant and her sister Sandra Grant. I don't have a plot down yet, but I know that in the first book, they meet Abraham Lincoln.

    My question is this: Since Ulysses S. Grant is a well-known figure in American history, should I have my protagonist possess the last name "Grant" or should I change it so no one gets confused and think I'm making up a relative of "General Ulysses S. Grant"?

    I thought of just doing a running joke where people in the story asks the two women, "Hey, you related to that Union general?" and the girls just grit their teeth and bear it. Still, I wouldn't mind hearing your opinions. =]

    Oh, and one more thing: I have considered having them just communicate to each other via writing on paper (and Holly would do that with any hearing person). If you have another idea, feel free to share.
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I didn't make the connection until you pointed it out. To me, Ulysses Grint is much less well-known than Jefferson, Washington, Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, etc. But if it bothers you, perhaps change it to Grint or Granterson?
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why have them communicate on paper rather than sign language? Are you assuming that sign language did not yet exist?
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Maybe because most hearing people don't know sign language, but anyone who can read can understand words written on paper?
    Although, illiteracy was much more common back then than today. But still.
     
  5. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    That and, like Mallory said, it'd be easier. Whatever Holly and Sandra wrote to each other, they could have...Lincoln (for instance) read it if they so wished without him feeling left out and confused.


    ...

    ...but if they knew sign language, then Holly could just sign to Abe and Sandra could interpret for her.

    ...Research the history of sign language, I must! It's a shame that a partially-deaf person like me doesn't know the history of sign language! I shall remedy that at once!!
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry, yes, it makes sense for them to communicate with the non-deaf on paper, it's communicating with _each other_ on paper that doesn't make sense to me. Surely a woman who lives with her deaf sister would take the trouble to learn sign language?

    And, yes, sign language did exist. :)
     
  7. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Very good. I shall amend that error. =) Thanks for telling me.

    Holly and Sandra communicate via sign language and Sandra interprets whenever Holly signs to the non-deaf world.
     
  8. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yep! There's probably still a bit of research to do if they do run into other deaf people, because while sign language did exist, I don't know how standardized it was at that point in history - I think that the standardized "American Sign Language" was relatively new.
     
  9. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Another thing I want to know:

    How would Lincoln react if he saw Holly Grant signing to him? How would he react when he learns she deaf? Would he ask her (through her sister) a bunch of questions about her deafness?

    Another question: Is lip-reading possible? I mean, if she can lip-read, then she's able to understand what others like Lincoln are telling her, and respond accordingly.
     
  10. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Two things. First of all, U. S. Grant was quite reknowned during the civil war as a fearless and intelligent soldier. It was, in fact, his service in the war which led to his being elected president a few years later.

    Second, ASL the primary standard for sign language in most of the world, originated around 1814 - about the same time the United States opened schools for the hearing impaired.
    Now, as to your two characters writing notes back and forth rather than communicate through sign, there are two schools of thought. Not everyone with a hearing impairment learned sign language (Also, in the beginning (though prior to Civil War) there were a number of different signed languages - sort of like a German and a Frenchman trying to communicate when they do not know the other's language!) By the beginning of the Civil War, most hearing impaired did, in fact, know sign language. Still, they were not left to their own independence since the hearing world did not understand their language. Usually, they would have some family member close at hand to serve as an interpreter ... as in the case of your two sisters.

    It is a simple thing for the hearing sister to communicate with her sister in the presence of a hearing person. The hearing sister would merely speak aloud as she signed to her sister and, as her sister signed, she would simply translate as she went along.

    Now, that's just a seat of the pants illustration of how it could be handled with one hearing impaired person and one hearing person acting as interpreter. Interpreters learn, in due course, to speak clearly as they converse with the impaired person. That way, both sides of the conversation are avalable to anyone else around.
     
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  11. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Mal, you really think Harriet Tubman is a more well-known name than Ulysses S. Grant, a two-term president of the United States and a beloved/reviled general of the Civil War (depending on your point of view)? I'm fairly certain that there is a lot more that has been written about Grant than Tubman (personally, I learned about Grant when I was maybe 8 or 9; I didn't learn about Harriet Tubman until I was in high school).

    Link - Grant is (and was back then) a very common name. I wouldn't worry about it.
     
  12. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Wow. Thank you for the information. =D

    Now I'll go plan out the first mystery. :D

    I agree with Ed.

    With all due respect to Harriet Tubman, Grant has been written about more, discussed about more than she had. After all, he was the guy who, with the help of Sherman (a controversial figure himself, what with his "March to the Sea" thing), won the Civil War.

    I know other generals helped too, but these two are the most well-know faces in American Civil War history.
     
  13. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    And as a Brit I've heard of Grant, not Tubman.
     
  14. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    And there you have it. It all depends upon your caliber of education and the weight your educational system does or does not impart to various people in history - particularly from other nations and cultures. As a collector of antique books (Yes. I know that term will be redundant in another twenty years) I have a history book which was published prior to WWI. It's interesting to see what was in that book which has been purged from history books in later years. It's also interesting to note how different history books from the same period stress different events in history or ignore them altogether. So some educational systems may include lessons revolving around the struggle to rescue slaves to the north and offer little more than passing reference to U.S. presidents unless they were deemed more than marginally notable. And what might be considered 'notable' would depend on the publisher.

    That being said, I cannot imagine any history book treating Grant's contributions to America lightly but ... who's to say?

    And, as EdfromNY already pointed out, Grant was, and still is, a fairly common name. I don't think anyone would necessarily associate the two women with U. S. Grant unless you, yourself, drew the a connection. And I don't believe people would normally expect the two young women to be related to him.
     
  15. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    My history lessons at school didn't address American history at all. Not a mention. I suspect that the thinking was that England had too much history of its own to bother with a minor ex-colony :D
     
  16. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Well...yeah. I mean, you guys pretty much dumped us for better grounds elsewhere. 8D (Though I do wonder: If you were just going to dump us anyway because you found bigger fishes in the pond, why didn't you do it in the first place and not waste valuable resources trying to hammer us into submission? Was it a PR thing?)

    If you had any thought of the ex-colony, King George III from the HBO John Adams series said it best: "I can only hope that the United States does not suffer unduly for want of a monarchy."

    In other words, "Yeah, good luck with that, kiddo." :p
     
  17. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, I don't think we dumped you. You'd be welcome back. Just give us the taxation and we'd happily give you the no representation. :D
     
  18. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Yay! :D How much do we owe ya?
     
  19. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Zackly! See? America STILL isn't the center of the universe!


    Yah! Funny! Problem is, Americans don't speak English. (Not sure what you'd call it ... Americanesish?)
     
  20. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Okay, okay, let's move this back to the topic before I ask a mod to lock it.
     

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