“Anthropologist on Mars” was a very difficult text to analyze and comprehend on many different sections of the book. I have never read a book about different types of medical topics subjected to the better understandings of particular individuals who has a certain disease. In “Anthropologist on Mars” there were many complicated vocabularies for me to absorb, since I had never heard or learned some of the medical terms he had used in the book to describe certain things for Temple Grandin and autism as the medical condition.
It was extremely difficult to understand what Temple Grandin was going through since I had to basic knowledge about what autism at all. Growing up as a child, I have never heard of autism. Since I didn’t have a better understanding about autism, it was extremely difficult for me to understand how a person would be categorized as being autistic. I often wondered how a person would be considered autistic when, depending solely on physical appearance by itself, they look exactly like a normal person would.
Autistics had also been put into mental institutions back when they were just categorized as having a mental illness and not a medical condition in neurology. I had also thought that maybe people categorized them by the actions they had committed which were not considered as being normal in society. In order to consider a person to be autistic, a person’s actions would have to destruct the norms of what an average person would do. Maybe the autistics only developed certain traits from the environment that they grew up in which led them to become autistics.
There is much confusion on what an autistic was and in order to clarify some of these confusions, it was necessary to get a glimpse of what autism really is. By rereading the difficult passages after doing some research about autism, it enabled me to better understand some of the materials stated in the book. After understanding what autism is, it was easier for me to understand what kind of situation Temple Gradin was in. This eventually allowed me to step in the shoes of an anthropologist and explore the life of Temple Gradin.
After defining certain difficult vocabularies, I was able to easily comprehend certain passages better which helped simplified many confusions. Temple Gradin was an interesting and difficult character to understand. By defining the difficult vocabularies and doing some research about autism, I was able to determine what kind of person she is, as an autistic, and how she lived her life, and how she started to have a successful business in animal affairs and welfare. She was also as successful as a humane livestock facility designer as an autistic.
This helped me understand how she was successful although she acquired autism. She learned to respond to various situations with certain behaviors. However, by reading further into the text, I realized that not all autistics had bad attributes and characteristics. Temple Grandin was a highly functional autistic who had a unique characteristic or ability to replay episodic images, such as memories, in her head like a movie. By being able to replay episodic images, she was able to notice certain small details that can greatly help her work in different subjects of the field.
It was really awkward to how she described some of the things, and if she accidentally missed some details, she would repeat the whole story all over again from the beginning. It’s fascinating how she had the stamina to start the whole conversation all over again, as if unconsciously she didn’t realize how much effort it takes to repeat something from scratch. In the eyes of a “normal” person, they would just start off the story from the part where they messed up or left out. It seems as if she had no idea that she was actually repeating the whole story all over again, or as if she didn’t realize that it was a long procedure.
For example, if I were to ask her a question like “How come you repeat everything while you could just continued on from the part where you made a mistake? ”, she wouldn’t have a logical reason. As I continued reading, I had realized that she did not understand human emotions, like love; she finds it boring and also difficult to understand. Although Temple doesn’t have any human emotions, she has a persistent attitude towards unjust and inhumane treatments against animals and the handicapped. She has unconsciously gotten angry in Georgia when handicapped people were treated worse than animals.
She noted, “Capital punishment states are the worst animal states and the worst for the handicapped” (280). It’s extremely interesting that even though she doesn’t have any human emotions, she was able to shed a tear when the animals were being executed. This shows that she has an emotional bond with the animals although it is unconscious to her. Temple also lack certain manners like when Oliver Sacks was waiting for her to offer a cup of tea after being invited to her place and being exhausted and dehydrated at that moment of time.
She did not give him the cup of tea until only after he had asked and also not saying sorry or anything on how she should had offered him something to drink when he had entered, as if she didn’t know any of the conventional manners. Would this be considered as a lack of manners, or just not really understanding the concept of what manner really is. However, there are many more possibilities which make this situation harder to understand. For example, maybe she rarely has any guests over; maybe she didn’t realize he wanted tea, etc, which could be the reason for her to not show any signs of hospitality.
While re–reading the whole passage, I had already drawn conclusions and problems about autism and Temple Grandin, like how her autism contradicts with most people with autism. For example autistics are said to have no sense of humor or some sort but Temple Grandin shows that she has some sort of humor, when she described a Taco bell to Sacks which had a makeover and is no longer “bellish”. There was also another time when she contradicted another autistic attribute which was the ability to pretend when Sacks and Temple went to a slaughter house, she had pretended Sacks was a sanitary officer and planned to sneak him in the place.
This was interesting as how this was being taken place since scientists or neurologists has stated autistics do not have the ability to “pretend” or they can’t at least, while Temple Grandin is doing it at the moment of time in front of a neurologist. Highly functional Autistics can basically pass off as a neurotypical which is a “normal person” in general with normal neural development. Nobody would ever be able to notice unless if you were to go deeper into understanding the person and study him or her.
Since many autistics don’t understand social communication of regular people on how they interact with each other and also the emotional bonds that they have. An autistic would most likely never understand the concept of love or emotion for each other as stated by Temple, that she has never fallen in love, gotten married, had sexual relationships or had children in her life. With all the difficulties I had with this text, I have brought up many questions about autism that involved people who has it and wondered about every one of their unique behaviors and also attributes that some of them possibly shared during their life.
Opinions had also been made while reading certain footnotes from Sack’s writing and discussion about autistics and Temple Grandin on situations, I will be able to better understand an individual with autism since they can be very similar to each other. These footnotes will create a starting base on how I can refer them to a situation and also look at how it reenacted with one another, from also different points of view.