Reflection of Breathing Lessons ... O'Brien review.

Essay by StartechUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, October 2003

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Reflection of Breathing Lessons

The movie Breathing Lessons caught me completely off guard. Even though I knew a little about the movie before watching it, I did not realize what an impact it would have on me. Seeing disability on the streets is impersonal because you only see the person for a few fleeting moments. Reading about disability in class goes a little deeper, but it is nothing compared to actually watching a visual chronicle of a disabled person's life.

The sound of O'Brien's voice was unexpected. His idiosyncrasies were surreal. I was amazed to see how much a person could accomplish while being almost completely incapacitated. I was surprised to see O'Brien cross the street in Berkley on his bed with mirrors. For some reason I did not expect him to be able to eat solid food let alone cross the street. I did not know there was such a thing as a sex surrogate and I previously wondered how people handled sex, love and intimacy.

I also found it very interesting how he could write and how technology has progressed over the years to enabled him to do so. Every time I saw him accomplish a task that I take for granted made me feel uneasy. I questioned myself about how I would feel if I had to type a paper with my mouth, one little peck at a time. How would I cope with the frustration? Would I have enough perseverance? Where would I get my strength?

O'Brien draws his strength from God. He stated that gratitude is the opposite of despair and he is grateful that God gave him an extension to his life. He also stated that there is a duality of body and spirit and that disability makes him think more of it.