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week 3

Response to Susan Dominus’ “Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind?”

Krista and Tatiana Hogan are described by author Susan Dominus in her article “Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind?” as being active, happy, loving four-year-old twins, but there is one thing that sets them apart from normal twins. Although the two girls have two separate bodies, they are connected at the head. Known scientifically as craniopagus conjoined twin girls, Krista and Tatiana are linked by the thalamus, or the relay station of the brain that receives sensory signals and sends them to the associated areas. Because of this connection, the twins show signs that one can see what the other is seeing and taste or even feel what the other is experiencing as well. This phenomenon has baffled many scientists, doctors, and experts who describe the possibility that the conjoined twins can share a mind as extraordinary. The twins, born in British Columbia to a large, blended household of extended and immediate family, are recognized by the family as two growing and developing young girls that are not all that different from non-conjoined children. Krista and Tatiana’s mother, Felicia Simms, was informed of the twin’s condition after her first prenatal checkup but accepted the twins and decided to proceed with the birth and handle whatever difficulties that may have accompanied it. Although the twins participate in many of the same activities and have similar likes and dislikes as normal children do, both girls are developing slower. This is most likely because the conjoined girls must develop a large number of additional skills and movements daily, in order to function in society. In addition to the constant need to compromise at the age of four, the twins are also forced to recognize and sort out various sensations and images that pass through the linked thalamus that do not originate in their own body. Because of their linked thalamus, the two girls face the challenge of not only establishing their own individuality, but differentiating it from someone else’s. Although the girls frequently act in unison and experience many of the same things, it is clear to the family and to others that they each have their own personality.
Instead of focusing primarily on the biological phenomenon their story creates, Dominus balances her article by using both personal and factual information collected on the twins. By including her own observations, written in first person perspective, Dominus is able to entertain as well as educate her readers on the condition of the conjoined twins. With a first person perspective included, the twins are more easily seen as normal, four-year-old girls who are growing and learning just as any other child. I feel that this gave the article personality and readability that would have been lost in a detailed scientific analysis of the twins and their condition. When she does confront the unique condition of the girls scientifically, Dominus explains the scientific lingo in terms the reader can understand and poses various questions to engage the reader. I feel that her approach and tone effectively encourages the reader to dig deeper and question the interaction between the twins. Dominus brings the twins and their personalities to life by including both normal and abnormal traits that they exhibit in their daily routines. Dominus treats the girls as two individuals who have, both literally and figuratively, an inseparable bond.



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