Teacher’s Guide

Welcoming the Sound of Silence – Isabella Kehl

Essay Category: Narratives and Meditations

Welcoming the Sound of Silence is a poignant and unique example of creative writing about family and what is left unsaid. This student was assigned an essay for the Enduring Questions course Immigration, Migration, and Language. She was instructed to write an essay in which she was an outsider to a language exchange. 

This essay creatively explores silence, the absence of language, as a tool that holds as much power as language. The author provides a unique analysis of the ways things can be said without words. The essay is strong because of the author’s descriptive language and the moods she is able to portray using silence as her background. By the end of the essay she has described the different types of silence, and the ways in which it can be both isolating and comforting. The examination of silence is creative and well-developed, however the narrative could be stronger. 

The author’s ability to portray a mood in a silent setting is evident through the following quote: The whiteness of the room was unsettling—no pictures, posters, decorations, or television. The walls of the room were as blank and empty as my brain the night my parents sat me down at the kitchen table. Upon entering my brother’s room, I found myself surrounded by silence. My nerves heightened as I feared that once again, I would remain an outsider, an observer to a situation that I was present in.”

What Assignments to Use Essay For:

  • Narrative
  • Creative Writing
  • Conversations Between Writers (paired with Love is Never a Stranger)
  • Family