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Reading Response #1: Speaking Up and Fighting Back

In a speech titled “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action,”

noted writer, feminist and scholar Audre Lorde stated “I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood . . . My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.”

There are a few instances in the first twenty-one pages of the novel The Color Purple, by Alice Walker, in which the story’s protagonist, Celie, is told to fight for herself. However, Celie’s response is “I don’t say nothing. I think bout Nettie, dead. She fight, she run away. What good it do? I don’t fight, I stay where I’m told. But I’m alive” (21).

It would seem, then, that Celie seems to believe that her silence is what will keep her alive, when so many other women around her have said and have even shown her that it will not.

What are your thoughts on Audre Lord’s statement, especially when compared to Celie’s statement? When is it necessary to speak up or remain silent? What is the cost of speaking up and what is cost of silence? Does the “cost” of one outweigh the other?

Note: You are expected to write a well thought out response of at least 2 paragraphs. Please keep in mind that this is not a text or Tweet. As such, you should spell out words and write using complete sentences. If you can, make connections between the novel and the short stories.

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