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Don’t! A Woman’s Word by Elly Danica- Dominic Bilodeau
Back in the 1980's, people wanted to ban music
genres as Metal, Rap and Hip-Hop, because the lyrics from these less
valid forms of music were too violent and thematized oppression and
powerlessness. - Have you ever read Don't: A Woman's Word ?- In this
aswer, there is no intention of saying that the book should be banned; on the
contrary, the book should be read and considered.
Violence sells; this is the reason of the comparison with the three types
of music listed above. People want violence. Men and women in western culture
want it. Yet, when the thing gets too real and too extreme; things are
different. Elly Danica tells her experience as a ''four-year old adult'' as she
writes. The book is not a light reading. It makes the reader angry, sad and, for
men probably more, ashamed. The book is written in single or very few lines a
once, which makes the story difficult to bear; and this is only the structure of
it. The text telling the story of the author's father abusing her is realistic
and Elly Danica spares the reader of no detail; from the thoughts and feeling
she has, to the description of the injustice she suffers.
of the reading
As one reads the book, a silence reigns in his/her mind: a troubling
silence. This is the first effect that the text has on the reader. The fact that
the text is a narration causes this silence. Julie Rak, a professor at the
university level, says that the narratives ''seek to enact trauma ... to produce
a special type of silence in its readers as the initial response. In this
silence, readers are called into being as witnesses, a position which they are
not usually asked to occupy ... (Rak, 4)''. This silence is then filled with a
feeling that is most disturbing. The same professor states, ''the story can be
told to another, which can cause the other to take on the otherness of the
traumatic experience (Rak, 5)''. The fact that the reader witnesses the events
makes him/her angry and is quite disturbing; it really makes the reader react to
the text. Moreover, this book reflects the way many people feel about men. The
men in their lives are nothing else than the monster that is their father.
Readers who are not victims of such crimes as incest, or rape, or any kind of
abuse, can understand why some women see men as predators, monsters and thieves;
those men stole their youth, innocence and freedom. In other words, this book
makes the reader think about these crimes that are, most sadly and
frustratingly, part of life in society. It also brings the reader to take action
and speak up about this major problem; victim or not, this problem is real and
it is time we do something about it.
Julie. ‘’Do Witness: Don’t: A Woman’s Word and Trauma as Pedagogy.’’
Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies: Topia, Number 10, Fall 2003. Web.
13 November 2011.
Elly. ‘’Don’t: A Woman’s Word’’. Charlottetown : Gynery books, 1988.
"Welfare Brat" (Mary Childers) by Mira Blazeska
is a memoir that focuses on the unhappy Childhood of the author: Mary
Childers. She tells her experiences
of growing up poor, living on welfare, being raised
by a single mother, and being faced with racism.
Mary Childers' intimate memoir tells the writer's
life between the ages of ten and seventeen in the
hungry and desperate. Childers mentions how her mother often
Mary Childers argues, in her personal memoir, how she was filled with
envy because she was living in poverty. As
many can argue, envy can usually get someone in trouble. The same thing happens
to Mary Childers when she finds a bus pass in the schoolyard. Just before this
scene, the author is telling us how she had to stop frequently at apartment
buildings to warm herself up, on her way to school, because of her too-thin
winter coat. Therefore, she decides to pick up the bus pass, even if she knows
that this would make her a thief. At the same time, she notices the owner's name
and ``know its owner as a wearer of Capezio shoes who boasts about weekend
shopping sprees with her rich big brother`` (103).
After this, she decides to use the bus pass. When she has used it for the
first time, she felt ``like a queen`` (104). Unfortunately, that was the first
and the last time she has used the pass because the school found out about it
very quickly, and then she was publicly humiliated.
Moreover, Mary Childers says that envy could lead someone to
disappointment, but also to the scorn of friends and family. This can be seen
when, at the age of thirteen, Childers sees her father, for the first time,
after an absence of six years. When he asks her about school, she tells him that
she is very sad for the only reason that she will probably not be able to attend
her ninth-grade graduation because she does not have enough money to buy a
dress. He then promises to give her the money, but eventually she never receives
it. Thus, Childers is disappointed with herself for believing in her father, but
most importantly, for allowing him to disappoint her: ``I time myself for a half
hour literally kicking my own butt, running down the street pumping my legs back
high enough for them to bang my bottom cheeks. [...] I care, I don't care, I
care, I don't care, I don't care`` (139).
During her childhood, the
author was confronted with racism. Childers' members were a family of white, and
they were living in African-American and Latino neighbourhoods. As white, she
has more opportunity to find a job and perhaps she could have more opportunities
than other children of different race. ``It’s true that we have a few more
options because we’re white. If landlords see Mom and one or two of us, maybe we can escape to a block
that is still populated by some white people and employed minorities`` (202). However, by living
in poor neighborhoods in the
1960s, she was often a victim of racism
by people of color because they disliked white
people, and how white people
treated them in society at
that time. Thus, the author feels rejected by
white people because they are
generally wealthier than her
family, and from people of different race because
of their social status in
relation to whites like her.
In conclusion, as
in the memoir Welfare Brat,
the division between social classes is evident in modern life. People
of lower classes are often victims of prejudice
and denied by the others. Thus, they must fight back to
prove that they too deserve
respect and have the capacity to succeed in life.
in being a welfare brat,
the author never gave up, and has
remained determined to achieve her goal which was to
escape from poverty and thus, to escape from the fate reserved
for a number of
children who grew up under the
same circumstances as Mary Childers.
Childers, Mary. Welfare Brat.
Stavis, Laurel. A Conversation With
the Ombudsperson. Vox of Dartmouth: The Newspaper
for the Dartmouth Faculty and Staff. 17 Dec. 2008. Web. 16 Nov.
Vermont Humanities Council: Sharing Our Past... Sharing Our Future. Exploring
Ideas through Books. State of Vermont. n.d. Web.16 Nov. 2011.
The Scold's Bridle by Amelia
Under 17th century patriarchy, women suffered many forms of injustices.
Amongst other things, they were treated as inferior to men, confined to the
private sphere, and silenced. In the
17th century, gender hierarchy was not to be trifled with; it was thought of as
''instituted by God and nature'' (17th Century Life and Times). The man was the
‘‘governor of his family and household'' while the woman was a mere servant,
bound to obedience (The
Early Seventeenth Century). She
was to be a good wife and a good mother. ''Women
were continually instructed that their spiritual and social worth resided above
all else in their practice of and reputation for chastity'' (17th Century Life
and Times). The ones who dared to speak up or who acted in ways that could hurt
their own, and more importantly, their husbands' reputation, were referred to as
''shrews'' or ''scolds'' and were publicly punished by means of the scold's
bridle (Findlay 1). ''A
a legal sense is a troublesome and angry women, who by her brawling and
wrangling amongst her [n]eighbours, doth break the public Peace'' (The
The scold's bridle was a punishment devise used by men to silence
shrewish women, to put them back into their place. Nowadays, such a devise would
be seen as an instrument of torture, but at that time, it was a man's
prerogative to punish a bad woman (The
its earliest form the Bridle consisted of a hoop head-piece of iron, opening by
hinges at the side so as to enclose the head, with a flat piece of iron
projecting inwards [...] to fit into the mouth and press the tongue down''
Later on, the bridle resembled more a cage as it was made of a series of hoops
that formed a mask around the woman's face with holes only for her mouth, nose
and eyes. A short spike was sometimes added to the mouth-plate, making it even
worse than it already was (The
Women were paraded through town with these on their heads and publicly
humiliated. When not marched through town, they were chained in a public place
where passers-by mocked them or inflicted physical humiliation such as urinating
on them. It was up to the man ''leading the woman in the bridle'' to decide how
far the punishment went, ''whether
or not her teeth and jaws were permanently injured or even smashed'' (The
17th century, the scold's bridle was used on women, not animals, but actual
human beings. This shows that women were perceived as objects or property. Men
tried to tame 'bad women,' to keep them silenced and oppressed. In 1632,
a law called the
"Law's Resolution of Women's Rights" was passed. In this document, a
description of women's roles in society was given, and the importance for women
to have a husband strongly emphasized (Ramos). According to the law, men were
permitted to beat their wives if they had good reasons: ''If a man beat an
out-law, a traitor, a pagan, his villain, or his wife, it is dispensable by the
Law Common these persons can have no action. [...] he shall neither do nor
procure to be done to [his wife] (mark, I pray you) any bodily damage, otherwise
than appertains to the office of a husband for a lawful and reasonable
Century Life and Times). Hence, the scold's bridle was seen as a ''reasonable
in Shakespeare, Continuum
International Publishing Group Ltd / Books, 2010, p365-367. Print.
Early Seventeenth Century: Topics,'' Gender,
Family, Household-17th Century Norms and Controversies: Overview, The Norton
Anthology of English Literature, Norton Topics
Online. Web. 20 November 2011.
Scold's Bridle.''Shakespeare’s England,
Everyday life in Seventeenth Century London, Web. 20 November. 2011.
Nicholas. ''Roles of Women in the 17th
Century,'' ehow.com, Web, 20 November 2011. <http://www.ehow.com/
Century Life and Times,'' Military
and Civilian History Recreated, Web. 20 November
''Best Pictures of.'' Web. 20 November. 2011. <http://ca.bestpicturesof.com/scolds%20bridle>.