Commentary: Turning Off The World — How ‘Hawkeye’ Relates To Me

by Frank Martin

The strange thing about media is that no one person experiences it the same. This is mainly because we each come at a story with our own personal experiences, biases, fears … basically, our own lives. For me, there’s one aspect of Clint Barton’s life that stood out more than others. It’s so small that the average person might not think anything of it, but because I’m approaching this story as me, it was something I can relate to a lot in this strange action-filled world of superheroes and villains.

For the first time it’s revealed that Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is hard of hearing due to the physical toll being a superhero has taken on his body. He wears a hearing aid, but at two points in the story (so far) he takes it out, rendering the world around him as nothing more than a whisper. The first is during a moment of reflection before he goes to sleep. The second is while talking to Natasha’s spirit at the Avengers memorial plaque.

It might be confusing to some why someone would just want to turn off their hearing, but I instantly recognized the act. Mainly because I do the same thing. I don’t have a hearing aid, but I do wear glasses. I’m nearsighted, meaning I can’t see far away. It’s pretty bad, too. Without my glasses the entire world becomes a blur. I’ve always had the option to get surgery to correct it, yet I chose not to. I’ve had multiple people ask me why I didn’t. And yes. My life would have been so much simpler without needing glasses all the time. The truth is I like having that option to take them off. Sometimes you want the world to be a blur. It might be hard for others to understand, but I actually treasure the ability to simply turn the world out of focus.

I might not be a superhero, but I felt Clint’s pain when he took out his hearing aid. That’s what makes a great story. Being able to relate to characters on a human level. The world is tough, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to turn it off every once in awhile.

Hawkeye streams Wednesdays on Disney+

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