When Audre Lorde became diagnosed with cancer it prompted her to start thinking about silence which is discussed in her essay “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action”. If we stay silent it is pernicious to our identities because it allows others to create false narratives about us. Being our authentic selves is difficult in a society that is constantly trying to place us in artificials molds. Whether it is boxes about our gender,race, or sexuality. Lorde makes this connection between dominant narratives and tyrannies,” you swallow day by day […] until you will sicken and die of them.” The connection between dominant narratives and tyrannies or silence is that they both tell you what to do and who to be. They make it difficult for us to be our authentic selves. Lorde continues to write about how silence will not protect us. Silence allows others to speak for you oftentimes giving the false narrative. SIlence deprives us of the opportunity of rewriting dominant narratives and “the weight of that silence will choke us”. Through language and speech we are able to overcome obstacles whether it may be judgement, oppression, and even fear, But if comply with those false narratives and do not speak up and not only empower ourselves but others, those narratives will.


CC BY-SA 4.0 Silence and it’s Effects on our Identity by Ava is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Youth Voices is organized by teachers at local sites of the National Writing Project and in partnership with Educator Innovator.

CC BY-SA 4.0All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
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