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Uninhibited's picture

I really enjoyed reading Wendy Brown's essay on Freedom Silences, especially because that it's a text that can be used as a frame to read other texts, events and experiences. I also think that a big part of why I enjoyed he text so much is because I did the kind of close reading that we did in Anne's class last week. I was particularly by the way in which breaks down the traditional ways in which we think of silence and oppression as standing in contradiction with freedom and voice. This helped me recall my experience abroad last semester in which I equated having power and feeling "free" or valued with "schooling", as I called it, people's statements that posed immigrants, people of color, Muslims, the poor as inferior. In my mind, this "voice" was freeing and I needed to speak out and get angry every time I encountered such statements. Soon enough, however, it became exhausting and I no longer felt free. It's as if all of a sudden I was back in jail that I had created for myself in feeling the need to fight every battle, get upset, and then realize that the person's point of view had not changed.

I appreciated Brown's essay because she articulates very clearly the power that can be found in silence and how it can work to protect us. She says "While to be invisible within a local discourse may occasion the injuries of social liminality, such suffering may be mild compared to that of radical denunciation, hysterization, exclusion, or criminalization" (pp. 87). I keep thinking about this quote because it reminds me that freedom is not necessarily speaking your way to justice, but choice and silence as a one of the mediums to exercise this choice. This text also made me think about Sweeney's book, because I think that one of the main things that she is trying to convey is that women in prison are not a monolithic group and that they use reading differently. Therefore, it doesn't matter whether they choose to read to dwell on their experiences to move past as long as it what they need at the moment. I think that's the same idea that Brown's essay is trying to convey in attempting to contradict the idea that silence can only be for the powerless.