Main Article Content
The paper explores the meaning of silence in Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Jonah’s Gourd Vine. The short, introductory section entitled The meaning of silence: some theoretical considerations defines the concept of silence from a feminist perspective and tries to determine its causes and consequences. While mainly intended to suggest some forms of silence, it also contrasts the meaning of silence to that of language, emphasizing their power to both relieve pain and cause spiritual and physical death. The silence of the oppressed examines sexism and racism as causes of silence and renders a person’s emergence from silence to speech not only possible, but also enriching. It further points out that although silence may, indeed, create the illusion of self-protection, it does not help establish a network of support, nor does it make psychological scars disappear. Rather, like a boomerang, it turns against the very individual who has chosen its course, deepening his or her crisis and perpetuating precisely that which it is supposed to resist.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.