The power of words.

Hello. Oppression was a disease. Authors have a chance to express their madness through language and experiences. With words, they can reach society and wake it up. I love literature, as it is a great educator of history and culture.

Both Fredrick Douglas, Leslie Marmon Silko, Erskine Caldwell and others mentioned how racism stemmed within the government, congress, the senate… Because of some of these authors, I believe the government and society as a whole, became aware of the stink oppression had on society, an unnecessary stink. They also mentioned how people were labeled by color instead of as human beings. And of course, they both shared the opposition of oppression, as well as shared first hand experience from oppression being they were both the oppressed. Both writers also provided examples of their horrible experiences with racism. Both expressed their anger about oppression in their speeches and I felt they had every right and reason to do so. I think the difference was evident from their style of speaking and writing. Douglas reflected more on the government’s association with oppression, accusing them of growing into the oppressors themselves. Silko, although developed the same point, used her personal experiences with immigration as an example. The author’s emotion was an affective way to get to the reader. The text sure got to me. She wrote about the oppression against people based on their skin color, about how the race in majority treated the same or below their dogs they used to sniff them for drugs and whatever else. Her example about her personal experience with border patrol was evidence of how terrible people were as related to oppression. The patrol, without hesitation, treated them like criminals with no reasoning to support their claims. Could it have been because of their skin color and ethnicity? Yes, of course, unfortunately. Thankfully, human beings have progressed in common decency and intelligence a bit since this time when oppression was at its peek.

Out of all of the author’s work I read this week, Caldwell’s context got my blood boiling and ached my heart the most. His narrative I think would send chills down most reader’s back. His narrative was unique. It wasn’t necessarily told from the view of the oppressed, yet the story overall stood as a nasty symbol with a purpose to influence readers to become aware of the cruelty of oppression. His story proved that when told from the attacker’s view, the narration can teach how cruel oppression was. The details the author included painted the ugly picture of what oppression was like in that part of Georgia, and what American society was like overall at the time. So, people will read about the history of this awful disease called oppression (ignorance) and hopefully learn from it, and restrain from it. People will look different, sound different, come from different cultures, and society needs to learn to deal with it. There is worse happening that calls for people’s concern. These authors’ stories and speeches will aid in doing so. I currently live in Georgia, and always knew the south had a history of racial discrimination, still does, but I never thought I would live so close to the heart of oppression. The different narratives made a difference in how I reacted. Giovanni’s poem was very powerful. Although it was dark, she made her message clear and acted as a positive influence for all women. Heck, she got my heart beating faster. I plan to read more about her work.

Nonfiction is a strong way for a person to express their argument and experiences concerning oppression. This is because they are able to reflect on real life occurrences that influenced him or her to speak about the topic. Silko’s writing was one example. The way she explained her experiences with oppression (the border patrol) showed how real and cruel oppression was. I believe fiction gives a broader picture of how people were oppressed. Society can learn from the vivid narrations that reflect the horrible times of oppression. We still have it today, but not like it used to be and I give credit to the authors and speakers I read about in this module, as well as fictional films who have portrayed the oppressed and their obstacles.

I think it is important that all types of writers and speakers write about the history of oppression. When the oppressed write from experience, it is a symbol of courage and concern for others who have shared or do share the same ridiculous horror they do or did. Their experiences, as this week’s readings proved, open a reader’s mind to the brutality they dealt with. This, however, doesn’t mean the non-oppressed should not write about oppression. I think the more society learns about the history of oppression in literature, the more intelligent it will become on the matter, and how cruel and a waste of time it was and is. I thought Stow was one example of a person who understood the oppression the other cultures were enduring. No, she did not have first hand experience being opposed with oppression, but she facilitated the opposition against such cruelty and bigotry by informing and perhaps influencing other cultures to open their minds and critically think about how devastating oppression was and is to society.

Below are links to speeches from Fredrick Douglas and Leslie Marmon Silko. Also, I included is Nikki Giovanni’s poem. Woman.


“she wanted to be a blade
of grass amid the fields
but he wouldn’t agree
to be the dandelion

she wanted to be a robin singing
through the leaves
but he refused to be
her tree

she spun herself into a web
and looking for a place to rest
turned to him
but he stood straight
declining to be her corner

she tried to be a book
but he wouldn’t read

she turned herself into a bulb
but he wouldn’t let her grow

she decided to become
a woman
and though he still refused
to be a man
she decided it was all

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