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Synthesis Essay: Blindly He Goes Up vs. Versabraille

2 pages
472 words
Middlebury College
Type of paper: 
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Human beings are among some of the wonders of creation. We live in a challenging world full of opportunities and possibilities. Humans can achieve anything they set their minds to do, and disability cannot limit them. This is evident in the characters of Erik Weihenmayer in Steve Rushins Blindly He Goes Up and Uncle Jim from Bill Schermbruckers Versabraille. Erik and Uncle Jim are two unusual blind characters that illustrate that the impossible is possible through courage, determination, and optimism.

Erik Weihenmayer is an incredible character who has shown resourcefulness in his sportsmanship and athletic nature despite his blindness. He is widely renowned as the first blind man to climb the peak of Mt. Everest in 2001 and any other peak in all continents. He has shown that disability is not inability. In the passage, Weihenmayer denotes the sense of courage when he says, I think climbing is built into our human code (Steve, 2005, para.7).With this note, he returned to Mt. Everest to prove that disability is not inability by leading six Tibetan teens 21, 500 feet. He selflessly risks his life for the well-being of others and creating awareness about blindness in Tibet. Apart from athletics, Weihenmayer is a scholar who graduated from Boston College with an English degree and became an English teacher in 1991 (Steve, 2005, para.5).

On the other hand, Uncle Jim in the Versabraille is a character who overcomes grave challenges in his life. At the age of seven, he beat all odds when he traveled across town to buy tobacco and rum for his father. However, he was adamant of facing the perilous journey. But Ive never been that far on my own before! (Schermbrucker, para.13). Nevertheless, his determination and courage helped him cross the road on the way the shop, and he achieved the high bar set by his father. Uncle Jim is also altruistic and advocates for versabraille machines as opposed to guiding dogs because of their short lifespan. I know quite a few blind people whore homebound now, because their second or third dog died. A Versabrailles a lot more worth having (Schermbrucker, para.5).

In summation, even though Erik Weihenmayer and Uncle Jims journeys are quite distinct and on different levels, the characters share common traits. They were all determined to achieve their goals with courage, selflessness, determination, optimism, and acceptance. They are role models who show that our limitations should not limit us from achieving our goals and objectives. Finally, the characters show that positive mentality is essential in life even when faced with obstacles along the way.


Schermbrucker, B. Versabraille. Retrieved from:

Steve, R. (July 25, 2005). Blindly He Goes Up. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved from:


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