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Complex Embodiment of Silence and Voice through Eva's Man

abby rose's picture

Works Cited:

Brown, Wendy. "Chapter Five: Freedom's Silences." Edgework: Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2005. Print.

Jones, Gayl. Eva's Man. Boston: Beacon, 1987. Print.

Rose, Abby. "Finding My Voice through Silence: Meditations on Freewriting." Serendip Studio's One World. 18 Sept. 2015. Web.

Sweeney, Megan. "Chapter Three: Between a Politics of Pain and a Politics of Pain's Disavowal." Reading Is My Window: Books and the Art of Reading in Women's Prisons. Chapel Hill,        NC: U of North Carolina, 2010. Print.


abby rose's picture

1. Dear Anne Dalke, please don't attempt to read this online: I will bring you the hard copy on Tuesday when we have class. 

Thank you for letting me break a traditional narrative. It has been very freeing and necessarily frustrating at the same time.  

2. The red strings connect the asterisks to their owners. The yellow string is a reponse. I was conisdering adding more strings, but I didn't want to privilege certain connections over others. Each section is very significantly placed next to all the pieces around it, but there is no particular order to read this collage. 

3. I considered including a rationale, an introduction and a conclusion, but it directly defeats the purpose of my collage. Also, absorbing the collage as it exists is an homage to Eva's Man itself. Each part of the collage supports another, though at first glance there may seem to be no central claim. Stick with it! 

4. Here is a snippet from my notes while writing, to answer (wc?) a question you asked me the other week:

so, should we teach this? i feel as though my experience reading this is another paradox - in order for this text to resonant with its readers, especially those who are survivors of trauma, they must be able to read it and discuss it; i was unable to do this at first, so I was hurt by my inability to speak to it; not only could i not speak to it because i hadn’t read it, but when the conversation in class became so relevant i had to join, i couldn’t find the words. i didn’t know what the space was like… however, my silence frustrated me and thus mobilized me - i ended up reading the book (however without pressure to discuss it in class in the future; i read it on my own terms). and i have gained so much from it, it’s changed the way that i see myself and my story - basically, i needed to read this book. i was able to write, my primary mode of expression after so long a period of stifled writing…. eva’s story gave me a way to interpret my own, complete with silence and inconsistency and illogicality… but i had to read it first!! i guess my answer is that i don't have the answer. but i have a lot to say in favor and in opposition at the same time. 

Anne Dalke's picture

as I said when we talked, this project really is an important one: it represents a breakthrough for you both in terms of understanding yourself as @ once complex and contradictory, and in terms of understanding how you might write more accurately and effectively about such complex personhood. Your account of how reading Eva's Man--after the class, on your own terms--changed your life and your writing actually gives me the shivers.

I enjoyed sitting with your text (and all the black space surrounding it!) tonight, exploring different connections, different options, different orders. My only quibble is your saying, front and center, that this is a non-story. It's story, all right.

I'd forgotten that you'd discovered Elbow's writing-as-collage in September, and just re-read my response to that:
"piecing together a collage...
Thinking of all the individuals we meet as collages!"

Riley came to a similar conclusion; see their writing about "trying to bottle a river"....

Do you want to read some more writing like this? Maybe give Thomas King's The Truth About Stories a try?