Michelle Cliff essay1 - 21387369 Michelle Cliff in If I...

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21387369 Michelle Cliff in “If I Could Write This in Fire, I Would Write This in Fire” addresses and investigates the ambiguity of the black Jamaican’s ‘inferiority complex’ to the white man by evaluating social disparities- race, gender, colonialism, and sexuality. She also emphasizes the black man’s disparity with rhetorical techniques. ( What kind of Rhetorical Techniques?. ...... unique? Simple? You don’t need an adjective there, but it might be nice. Also, I am not entirely sure, but is rhetorical techniques the same thing as like diction and syntax and imagery? If you are sure that those fall under the category of rhetorical techniques, then you are fine,) Cliff refers to the difficulties that her Jamaican people suffer ( I am not a fan of that phrase, it feels too possessive ) as ‘Colorism’ and she exposes the crude relationship Colorism shares with other social structures that define a precise identity the white man desires. Why is the black man identity such a quandary? Will the black man ever have the same social standing as a white man? ( To me your thesis is saying that you feel that the rude, or rough, relationship between colorism and the other social structures – race, sexuality, etc. – is what defines what the white man desires in a Jamaican…. .If this is not your intent, maybe you might want to clear it up a bit, if it is ur intent, then u are fine) The inequalities between the white man and the black man may seem bewildering, but Cliff utilizes a narrative to reveal the inequalities at stake such as gender. When Henry, her cousin, was in a bar, he refers to a 50-year-old woman waitress as a ‘girl’ disregarding the woman with any respect despite her elder age. Henry is not a white man , but uses his gender as an excuse to be authoritative and rude towards the waitress . The urge for authority is a constant struggle to seek entitlement. Dark colored women are destined for precarious employment; Cliff says that they are required to go to school or maintain the “house worker/mistress relationship” (30). Society also expects women to be subservient to men regardless of their attainments, or 1
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21387369 race . For example, Henry expected Cliff to oblige to his demands for sexual intercourse because she is a woman. Even if the black women were able to obtain independence and equality from the black man , they would still be haunted by their dark Jamaican race ; Cliff refers to, as “the doom of the Creole” (27). Along with the predetermined “doom” of the black man’s skin color, their family dynamics are also determine their social class. Cliff does not include a male figure for Zoe, neither a grandfather nor father. This lack of male dominance in Zoe’s household eludes to her family’s suppression by the white man and their lower class identity. The absence of a male figure noticeably has an effect on Zoe’s social status
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This note was uploaded on 09/04/2010 for the course CHEM 10966 taught by Professor Vollhardt during the Spring '10 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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Michelle Cliff essay1 - 21387369 Michelle Cliff in If I...

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