CODA / Working Class Hero

In case you missed it the big film that is winning all the awards this year is CODA.

There are many aspects of the film that resonate with audiences, but an aspect that I haven’t seen much and that touched me personally is the story of a working-class family. A family just trying to make ends meet. This is not necessarily a sexy subject, but it is an important one.

Just think about it, give me a movie or book that is about ordinary people trying to get by. Living from paycheck to paycheck, or in the case of CODA from catch to catch, there is an element of always being on the edge, and never being one step ahead.

When you grow up in this type of life you don’t have a sense of security, and every minor misstep or mishap can mean you fall deep into a dark abyss. Troy Kotsur’s character seemed to embody this Working Class Hero character to me.

Of course, another great aspect of CODA is the way it portrays the lived experience of being deaf in a hearing world, and also the life of being the one hearing person in a family, and particular family dynamics. But other people have covered that.

Photo by Alex Voulgaris on Unsplash

The reason why it resonated with me so much is a personal one. No, I didn’t have deaf parents. However, I did have a similar role as the main character, in the way that I had the responsibility of reading and explaining official letters to my parent. As the child of an Illiterate Adult (CIA, to coin a term), I had the responsibility of writing letters to my school, reading letters that we got, and explaining to my parent what we needed to do. Cause of this responsibility I for one never dreamed of taking advance of the situation, that others might have. But still, it haunts me to this day, as I end up taking on way more responsibility for situations than I should.

So I wonder, could we ever let go of the family and family roles that are bestowed upon us?

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LJ Kessels

Writer. Philosopher. Cultural Animal. (Dis)functional on a multilingual level.