1 Danielle Rainey Professor Dunnigan English 100 12/5/18 Change Imposed by Oppression at Birth Imagine being born into the bottom of a social hierarchy, deemed as less than those at the top, based on appearance or cultural background. This was common for people born as a minority in a society that was ruled by the majority. Because of this, the oppressed minority under this type of hierarchy had to follow societal expectations imposed on their group. This might have involved using “colored” restrooms or cheering for a king who was the reason for the oppression. In the past, these types of expectations imposed on minorities have generated a substantial amount of conflict, they angered the minority groups who just wanted to be free. Consequently, the oppressed minorities worked together to create change to this man-made hierarchical structure. This type of hierarchy was created by those who had power in society, specifically those who believed they were superior to others. In terms of this scenario, a hierarchy is a system created by privileged individuals who put other people at various ranks according to their importance. Such a system closely resembles the ones created by the British in the novel, A Star Called Henry and the one created by the Whites in the novel March. In these novels, individuals joined together to gain freedom from their oppressive rulers. Throughout these novels, the oppressed minorities produced change by fighting against the federal, oppressive hierarchies. Although the individuals placed at the top of the hierarchy oppressed the ones at the bottom, consequently, the oppressed created change to the social structure through their struggles, commitment, and networking.
2 Rainey The novel A Star Called Henry, by Roddy Doyle, revolves around Henry who was born oppressed. Henry was born into an Irish family in Dublin, Ireland in the early 1900s, during this time, England ruled Ireland. The English king created a hierarchy where he was put at the top, placing English citizens right beneath him, leaving the Irish to the bottom. Even though the Irish and English were of the same race, they had different cultural backgrounds. Therefore, the English actually still saw the Irish people as a different race, just as white people would have seen black people during segregation in America. Henry was born Irish, which made his life difficult under this type of oppression. According to the National Archives of Ireland, Dublin was said to be a mass of contradictions around the time Henry was born. It was the second city of the British Empire but the first city of nationalist Ireland. But between these times, the divisions of class and culture were large. These historical facts about Dublin are present in this novel, which greatly affected the direction of Henry’s life.