Harold Krents in his story “Darkness at Noon” adequately captures the experiences of a blind person in contemporary society. His usage of word choice, use of imagery, symbolism, humor, and satire helps him to make his point and at the same time reveal his character to the reader.
His words and phrases like “at the top of their lungs,” “narcissistic,” and “saint disposition,” bring out the salient points in this discussion. He is effectively using the imagery of the detaching retina to underscore the irrationality of people’s fears about his blindness. In depicting a factory in which the manager will not be able to tell who is blind and who is not, Krents gives the reader an inspiring symbol of a world in which all people will be treated as equals, regardless of physical ability.
The man in the story has a pleasant character, but it is difficult to preserve it under his circumstances. Telling about his misfortunes, he brings an important message to many people who suffer from the same or similar problem. Society needs disabled people because they possess many talents and gifts. In many cases, they can become excellent employees, but they are turned down because of human prejudice. Krents’ story carries an essential message to all people in the world about the need to treat disabled individuals differently.
The non-fiction story “Darkness at Noon” deals with the experience of a disabled person who has chosen law as a profession. Although the only disability the man has is his blindness, the surrounding people are eager to ascribe to him all kinds of other disabilities, including deafness, numbness, and, most importantly, entirely some law firms turned him down because they believed a blind person could not practice law. The author makes his points very convincingly, demonstrating a thorough knowledge of the subject through word choice, use of imagery, symbolism, humor, and satire in the piece of prose that thoroughly reveals his character. This little bit of writing has many significant implications for employers and employees alike, as well as for any person who confronts a disabled person anywhere.
His word choice serves to underscore the frustration of the situation. When people address him thinking that he is not only blind but also deaf, they shout “at the top of their lungs.” It emphasizes the plight of his situation in which he is treated as an incapacitated individual even though he is only limited in his ability to see. His saying that his self-image was not “narcissistic” is perceived as a sign of bitter irony when the reader learns that the man is blind and is perceived by others as an invalid. He talks of himself as one with “saint disposition,” underlining the fact that the tribulations he faced and the humiliation of being forced to talk through an interpreter were a serious challenge even to the one who is mild and condescending.
Krents’ use of imagery and symbolism also contributes to creating a situation of hopelessness and fatigue on the part of the man whose blindness separates him from the mainstream society. The people at the airport whisper about his condition for fear that “the ticket agent’ retina will immediately detach”: a vivid image of the possibility of contagion that people see in blindness. The final episode in which the two people, a disabled and a ‘normal’ individual, are compared is a good symbol of the future in which technological achievements will equalize the opportunities of people regardless of their physical condition.
Even though it focuses on tragic things, the story is written by a man who keeps his sense of humor in any situation. Krents depicts the other people who mistake him for a stupid, almost idiotic person as being strange and ridiculous. The ticket agent who shouts at the top of his lungs, the one who whispers, the orderly who repeats and intones the patient’s words with unrivalled obstinacy – they all look funny when their actions are interpreted from the viewpoint of a sound person. Especially funny is the “procedure” in which Krents communicates through an orderly who does not hesitate to repeat his words for the whole five minutes. It is funny, given the fact that the patient appears quite reasonable and able to articulate his thoughts coherently.
The man in the story reveals many facets of his character. He does seem to have if not a “saint”, then quite pleasant disposition. However, his disability is a severe challenge, in many ways caused by unhealthy attitudes rather than the inconvenience. It makes his embittered about many things he encounters, though it does not deprive him of his ability to make fun of such attitudes. Still, he gets serious when it comes to employment opportunities, showing a thoughtful and sensible approach.
This little story is full of revelations that will benefit anyone who hitherto had limited experience with disability. It makes people think about the possible effect of their particular tactics directed against the disabled person. Managers can get highly useful insights into the plight of applicants and employees who suffer more from inadequate corporate policies and human perceptions than from their disability itself. Harold Krents with his qualification, sound mind, and amiable character, seems well-positioned to be a good lawyer. It is sad to think of the many firms that turned him down only because of his disability, even without bothering to look how it will affect his work. It seems a complete waste to turn down employees of that level of ability just because someone somewhere has decided they are not fit to join the company.
The story “Darkness at Noon” is a great lesson for both employers and employees. The first category will benefit from the realization of opportunities missed if they fail to grant employment to able individuals who have enough talent to do their jobs well but just happen to be disabled. Employees should learn from it how to confront customers with the disability and how to deal with their disabled. Krents with his well-written personal story makes a compelling point about the need to better accommodate disabled people in the workplace and other environments.
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