This is an essay I wrote in place of a final for my AP Literature class:
The cultural signification of language and how it pertains to existing as a ‘colored’ person in the third space in Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime” is an element worth exploring. Divisions of language in South Africa were primarily introduced by the enablers of apartheid — meant to exist as a divider along racial lines. However, language is used in the book by non-whites, such as Noah, as a tool to compensate for any such racial divide. In trying to dismantle the unity of a black South Africa, the ‘architects of apartheid’ created their own third space — language –– as a medium existing outside of the black and white racial boundaries fostered by apartheid, allowing a bridge between races. It is this space that Noah uses to navigate his existence as multiethnic — as both white and black — as someone who embodies the third space in itself. Because of the language and racial divisions created by apartheid, and because of Noah’s existence as a ‘colored’ individual in the previously mentioned third space, Noah finds himself able to cross racial boundaries using mimicry and hybridity as they pertain to language
Mimicry is the occurrence of a colonized people imitating the colonizer in some form; Bhabha, the ‘father’ of this concept, writes, “mimicry emerges as one of the most elusive and effective strategies of colonial power and knowledge,” (Bhabha, 126). Mimicry with regards to language is an especially pertinent element of Noah’s novel, particularly when associated with knowing English, and inexorably tied to race. Noah utilizes Bhabha’s aforementioned strategy of colonial power and knowledge to benefit himself when it comes to knowing English. Noah writes, “If you’re black in South Africa, speaking English is the one thing that can give you a leg up...English comprehension is equated with intelligence. If you’re looking for a job, English is the difference between getting the job or staying unemployed. If you’re standing in the dock, English is the difference between getting off with a fine or going to prison,” (Noah, 54). By mimicking the oppressor with speaking a language he wouldn’t otherwise, Noah is allowed access to opportunities that he most likely would not be able to without the benefit of English. This benefit of mimicry of English gives Noah power in the white world, even though he himself is mixed race. Speaking English crystalizes his place in apartheid in some sense, it gives him ground to walk on as someone who struggles with identity. Knowing English — mimicry — grants Noah a certain place in the complex social hierarchy of apartheid itself; it’s a tool used by Noah to gain sense in a world where he is labeled as ‘colored’.
Hybridity is used in the same way. Hybridity is described as a “celebrated and privileged as a kind of superior cultural intelligence owing to the advantage of in-betweenness, the straddling of two cultures and the consequent ability to negotiate the difference,” (Hoogvelt 1997: 158). Noah directly benefits from this third space, from this in-betweenness, particularly when it comes to language. For example, several black men plan on robbing Noah because of his perceived whiteness, speaking in Zulu about how they would do it, and Noah spins around, speaking Zulu back to them, to which they left him without doing any harm. Noah writes about this particular incident, “[t]hey were ready to do me violent harm, until they felt we were part of the same tribe, and then we were cool,” (56). Noah’s knowledge of Zulu despite his white-passing nature allowed him a free-pass when it came to racial violence — a bi-product of hybridity. Noah, being biracial, knows both English as well as Zulu, and this hybrity of both race and language gives him the power, the privilege, to navigate a world without being restricted by a binary concept of race.
Noah’s identity is one of confusion and of fluidity, as he exists in the third space, outside of the binary enforced by apartheid; this third space can be chaos; Noah writes, “[f]or all that black people have suffered, they know who they are. Colored people don’t,” (Noah, 116). However, with the toolset that mimicry and hybridity allow, Noah begins to rely on language as a means of navigating the third space effectively.
Bhabha, Homi. “Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse.” October, vol. 28, 1984, pp. 125–133. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/778467. (Link)
Hoogvelt, A. (1997). Globalization and the Postcolonial World: The New Political Economy of Development. Baltimore, The John Hopkins University Press. (Link)
Meredith, Paul, 1998. ‘Hybridity in the Third Space: Rethinking Bi-Cultural Politics in Aotearoa/New Zealand’, paper presented to the Te Oru Rangahau Maori Research and Development Conference, Massey University, 7–9 July. (Link)
Noah, Trevor. Born a Crime. London: John Murray (Publishers), 2017. (Link)
The following piece is one I wrote for my Advanced Placement English Literature course on George Orwell's essay, "Shooting an Elephant". Here I explore two perspectives on the "why" behind the killing of the elephant in Orwell's writing. One explores a systemic issue, whereas the other implicates personal choice as the deciding factor.
George Orwell puts himself in an incredibly vulnerable position in his short story, “Shooting an Elephant”. Orwell ultimately has the choice to depict himself in any possible way, yet chooses to put himself in a position that could be interpreted negatively. Orwell actively decides to recognize that he shot the elephant; but before the reader can blame Orwell for this action, he analyzes the system that corroborates his choice to kill the creature. He shows the reader that there must be a lesson beyond criticizing himself as the author — a lesson indicating a larger, systemic issue, “I had got to shoot the elephant... A sahib has got to act like a sahib; he has got to appear resolute, to know his own mind and do definite things” (3). Orwell feels bound by certain expectations and standards that are systemically enforced by the structure of imperialism, itself. Because imperialism is structured in a way that enforces white, western dominance, any outlier in that system faces negative consequences. Orwell did not want to be an outlier. He had no choice but to shoot the elephant because of the societal rules he is tied by. Were he not to follow the system, he would face the humiliation and scorn that an outlier automatically faces by not fitting into the rigid dimensions of imperialism; were he not to shoot the elephant, he says, “[t]he crowd would laugh at me. And my whole life, every white man's life in the East, was one long struggle not to be laughed at” (3). Because of the pressure of imperialism, Orwell had to shoot the elephant. And at this point, he isn’t even his own man anymore; he becomes a puppet, acting out the actions that the system wants him to, “I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys. He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the conventionalized figure of a sahib” (3). Orwell loses his freedom the moment he pulls that trigger because he is then the human embodiment of the system he so despises.
George Orwell attempts to exchange his culpability for victimhood in his piece “Shooting an Elephant”, and in doing this, enforces imperialism rather than falls victim to it. The “victim card” is one which abusers and manipulators often take, for the simple reason of escaping responsibility for their actions at the expense of others whom they see as below them. Orwell is no different. He writes, “And afterwards I was very glad that the coolie had been killed; it put me legally in the right and it gave me a sufficient pretext for shooting the elephant” (3). Orwell does not bat an eye at the dead Indian — he even admits that he is glad the man died for the sole purpose of allowing Orwell a logical reason for shooting the elephant. Orwell clearly sees the Indian man as expendable for the purpose of Orwell’s own evasion of responsibility for his actions. It is in this way that Orwell is more a perpetrator than a victim. He reinforces the system of imperialism by so easily allowing the dead Indian man to be a pawn in Orwell’s larger game. The real reason Orwell shot the elephant was not because it killed a man he couldn’t care less about, but because he did not want to appear weak. The system of imperialism exists, yes, but the system is actively perpetuated by each individual via free will and choice, rather than each individual being victimized by the system. Orwell made the choice to shoot the elephant in his need to impress a race of people he believes inferior to himself. It is in this way that, he, himself, perpetuates imperialism, “I often wondered whether any of the others grasped that I had done it solely to avoid looking a fool” (3). Much like parents like to impress their young children with coin tricks and the like, Orwell sees himself as a superior exercising his power and instilling a sense of awe in a people he sees as lesser than himself.
Orwell, George, 1903-1950. Shooting An Elephant : and Other Essays. London :Penguin, 2003. Print.
*Nandini, Krishnan. "Killing an Elephant." Sify News. 27 June 2016. Web. 1 Dec. 2017.
The following piece is an article I wrote for The School of the New York Times while enrolled in the class, Writing About Youth Culture: Race, Identity and Social Behavior:
In early May, a court case hit the New York City news, in which a mother decided to take legal action against a private, Long Island Catholic school for their lack of action when her son, Devin, was victimized by racial slurs and tropes in a group chat. Devin’s mother, Ursula Moore, according to abc7NY, has filed a federal lawsuit. Devin was subjected to texts reading “black people are not functioning members of society” and photoshopped images of his own face on a gorilla as well as on a Nazi soldier. Based on information from NY Daily News, the boys sending these messages to Devin operated through an app called Discord, that is generally used by gamers for communicating amongst themselves. According to the Discord website, the app used allows for what the company calls a “voice and text chat”, in which several people can join a channel and send messages to each other.
This app is the perfect tool for white supremacists to find bonds amongst themselves over shared racism: to defend each other, to fuel each other’s views, and ultimately, to find a community in which they can be understood and respected for their viewpoints (twisted ones, albeit). With the invention of the Internet, geographic boundaries and different time zones are not an issue for them.
Devin and I may be from opposite sides of the United States, we may be three years apart in age, we may be of different ethnic backgrounds, but one thing we share is victimhood. Cyber racism.
This past April, a private group chat surfaced at my school, similar to the one that emerged at Devin’s. This one had been going on for over a year, unbeknownst to the larger student body. One of the individuals who was in the chat got cold feet and showed the chat to the administration and victims. Within this chat, many juniors participated in racist, homophobic and hateful behaviors towards specific individuals in my grade, including myself and my friends. They talked about killing my friends, used the n-word repeatedly, compared black students to monkeys and slaves, talked about "lynching negroes", made light of the Holocaust, used Nazi rhetoric, and more. Their language was often threatening, violent and frightening.
White supremacists, years before the Internet, before they could digitally hurt people like Devin and myself, used to unite their cause through printed newsletters, in which they would contribute their writings and find common interest in each other’s racism; this is a perfect example of how before the innovation of the Internet, white supremacists were bound by geography, Dr. Jessie Daniels, sociology professor and author, tells me over the phone.
“They could organize across geographic boundaries but it was much more difficult in print only”, says Daniels, who has written numerous publications regarding race relations, one of which is the book Cyber Racism, about the nuances of racism in cyberspace, “A part of what I documented in the Cyber Racism book is the rise of translocal whiteness...that people are finding community, and finding it around race...The problem comes when it’s white people doing that because they’re organizing around a particular ideology about race, which is white supremacy.”
Following the use of papers and newsletters to unite racist communities came hate organizations with geographical centers spread throughout any given area. I spoke on the phone with Shannon Martinez, a former member of a neo-Nazi organization who now works to rehabilitate people who have assumed the hateful lifestyle she managed to leave. “The same driving factors that drive people into a cult are the same things that drive them into gangs and white supremacy and Jihadism...they’re looking for a sense of belonging, on the fence of that surrogate family,” says Martinez, who also once found community built through the racism of an extremist organization.
Now, one of the most popular forms of meeting other like-minded individuals is the World Wide Web. The Internet has been conducive to the formation of digital communities via online group chats, social media apps, and websites; oftentimes, these communities find a connecting point in racism, as Daniels and Martinez mentioned. Before the development of social media and the popularization of online chat groups, most racists migrated to Stormfront, a website advocating white power and supremacy over all else. “Basically what’s going on now with the algorithms and with social media is...white supremacists have lots of other places to go besides Stormfront. And part of what they’re doing is they make sport out of particular kinds of online spaces,” says Daniels.
White people have colonized online avenues and formed communities since Stormfront, namely communities in group texting and communication applications. They use these applications to form a sense of community with one another by building off of each other’s racism, as was the case with Devin and myself.
In the group chat present at my school, each member used the racist rhetoric spewed by someone before them to further press their own hateful ideology. They worked together to build racist arguments in effort to form ties with one another and create a sense of trust within the chat.
I spoke to Ms. Moore and Devin over the phone and asked Devin if he felt that the boys in the group chat ganged up on him and used each other as fuel. Devin told me that the boys in the chat worked together with one another to create the photoshopped images of him, and described the dynamic of the chat as “three against one”. Ms. Moore added that the use of Discord, of the Internet, was what allowed them to actually enact such racism towards Devin in the first place. She said that they “banded together and it (the Internet) gave them the courage to do it”. The Internet, the group chat, allowed the bullies to form an insular community in which a rhetoric of white supremacy was developed and shared.
I’ve been on a mission to find out the “why” behind all of this, to figure out why young people are racist on the Internet. One of my teachers told me to give up; she told me that I could spend my whole life wondering why and never get anywhere closer to an answer. But I think I’ve found my answer. I talked to Daniels about my personal experience and about Devin’s, and she offered me this: “...I think with your experience with your high school classmates perfectly illustrates the point...they were enacting racism with each other as a kind of form of bonding and in this way that was damaging to their classmates.”
I submitted an essay for the AEL Collegiate Essay contest. This year, the prompt was to write about American exceptionalism, and you know my take on that is less than traditional. Download the file and check it out!
The following is an essay I wrote for my Holocaust and Memory class regarding the rise of Nazism.
23 March 2018:
The rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party ultimately could not have occurred without preconditions to the Interwar Era as well as the occurrence of appeasement in global politics.
According to Doris L. Bergen, some of the necessary preconditions to the Holocaust include the ability of civilians to believe the profiling of certain groups of society as enemies as morally correct. In order for this to be possible, a historic prejudice must exist. Bergen writes that said historic prejudices were built on and expanded on to create an environment in which extreme oppression would be deemed acceptable. Hostilities and prejudices became murder with just three components: the existence of corrupt leadership, political will, and the exploitation of popular beliefs. The corrupt leadership and political will existed in Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Regime, and the exploitation of popular historic beliefs was present in the whole of European society.
According to Bergen, Jews in Europe have been subject to anti-Semitism within Europe as a whole since the days of Jesus, when the Jews were blamed for his death. This rhetoric of the Jews as traitors and evil doers carried over into later centuries as the Jews were used as scapegoats for the Bubonic Plague, were expelled from Spain, and were criticized by Enlightenment thinkers; such events still carried momentum in the 1900s, contributing to the hatred of the greater Jewish population right before and during the Holocaust. Nazis channeled mild prejudices into outright hatred and discrimination through manipulating and exploiting prejudices that the general population were already familiar with from the past, from historic Europe (the idea that the Jews killed Christ, the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, etc.). The Nazis used these prejudices as fuel in political arenas and campaigns, forming laws around these oppressive ideas, expanding them into tangible hatred. This tangible hatred was then easily used as a rallying point for murder, and thus, for the rise of Hitler and the Nazis as a totalitarian regime of terror and death.
A further precondition that was needed in order for Hitler and the Nazis to gain momentum was World War I, according to Bergen. Bergen holds that The Great War (World War I) did have impact in terms of preconditions to the rise of Nazism, though did not directly lead to the Holocaust, as mainstream historical arguments suggest. These arguments dictate that the Germans attempted a nationalistic regimen to restore honor to their country following their humiliation by France in France’s effort to create peace, that because the French required the Germans to pay extremely high reparations, the German economy was essentially in ruins, prompting the German people to turn to Hitler as the leader to save and unify them, and prompting the nation to turn against the Jews as a scapegoat. Bergen refutes these mainstream historical arguments by pointing out that the suing for peace was a decision made by German military leaders, and that the reparations Germany had to pay were hardly crushing. Instead of the mainstream arguments, Bergen instead offers that World War I contributed to the rise of Nazism more discreetly and subtly. Bergen asserts that many Germans would not accept the fact that Germany lost the war fairly, and went on to find a group of people to blame for Germany’s losing the War. Along these lines of subtle progression of German hostilities towards certain groups, the environment of scapegoating was started up once again, and Jews and others were being blamed for Germany’s loss. Furthermore, some Germans believed, as a result of World War I, that it was solely in warfare a man could prove his masculinity- the belief that force was the most strong element in the world. This glamorization of violence sparked a new culture that remained a precondition for World World II. Without World War I, the Nazis would not have seen such a steady rise to power and influence over Germany, and eventually, over much of Europe. Preconditions were by no means the only factor in the rise of Nazism and of Hitler, however; lack of direct and immediate action on part of international powers in situations of crisis also had impact in this matter.
The road to appeasement was one on which the Nazis traveled to embark on their crusade of death and destruction following their rise to power. Nanking was one instance in which appeasement is exemplified, historically. Very little was done to help the Chinese being brutalized and killed besides an acknowledgement of the crimes occurring by various nations, the United States included. No nation reached out a helping hand for the dying Chinese trying to cling to life. This sentiment of acknowledgement but no action was one common during the Interwar Period, especially when it comes to oppression of Jewish peoples in Europe at the time before the War. The Nazis observed the lack of action on part of the greater powers of the world and realized that unrestricted murder was indeed possible without the interference of other nations.
These notions on part of the Nazi Regime and Hitler were solidified in the Munich Agreement of 1938. Great Britain and Germany interacted in what is known as a classic example of appeasement; Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Great Britain at the time, signed an agreement in Munich detailing that the British were not going to take action to punish or incriminate the Germans for annexing Austria and Czechoslovakia, so as long as the German government did not continue on their path of conquering. The German government did not heed the word of Chamberlain, thus showing that Germany took advantage of the appeasement that they knew could not affect their rule. It is impossible to say what could have been had appeasement not been a reality of the times, but one can conclusively determine that appeasement allowed the Nazi Regime to continue their reign and ultimately allowed them the ability to create the conditions of the Holocaust.
No academic argumentative essay will ever be able to cohesively and effectively explain the complete reasoning behind the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party, nor will any essay written in a school setting be able to definitively isolate the exact causes and circumstances of the Holocaust. However, due to lack of action on part of international nations as well as preconditions in place before and during the Interwar period, one can decisively assert that historical prejudices, World War I, the Rape of Nanking, and the Munich Agreement all contributed significantly to the success of the influence of the Nazi Party and their leader, Adolf Hitler.
Bergen, Doris L. War & Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009. Print.
Below is an essay I wrote for AP English regarding the lie of the beloved American Promise.
25 October 2017:
America was founded on misogyny, racism, and anti-immigrant rhetoric, as established by the Founding Fathers, and America still feeds off of that today. Thomas Jefferson begins the immortal second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence promising that the equality and rights of men are self-evident. However, along with this assertion comes an inherent flaw: Jefferson meant white, American-born men to be the only individuals included in this promise. Therefore, it is fitting to declare that the United States does in fact mirror the ‘ideal’ America prescribed by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. The America of today adheres perfectly to the crooked standards of Jefferson’s assertion; two parallel arguments can be made: because Jefferson did not mean to include women in his definition of “men”, they are denied rights and equality, and, because black people and immigrants are denied rights and equality, Jefferson did not mean to include them in his definition of “men”.
One expects Jefferson’s promise in the Declaration of Independence, that “all men are created equal” and “endowed...with certain unalienable Rights,” to be applicable to citizens from all walks of life; however, the flaw lies in that Jefferson did not want to include women in his statement’s definition of ‘men’. This flaw is recognized and remedied by Elizabeth Cady Stanton; she argues in “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions” that by excluding women from his definition of ‘men’, the rest of Jefferson’s statement is made equally inapplicable to women- there is then no “self-evidence” in equality because the “inalienable rights” described do not apply to women. Stanton begins her argument with, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights...” (paragraph 2). Cady Stanton models Thomas Jefferson almost down to the last word, except she includes ‘women’ in her statement. Had Jefferson had meant to include women in his promise, Stanton would not have felt the need to actively add ‘women’ to the famous words. There is a lack self-evidence in equality and human rights, that is, they are not made inherent to everyone. Stanton made this point in the 19th century, yet the original intention in her rhetoric is still present today.
Thomas Jefferson meant to convey that white and American-born men were the only individuals included in the definition of “men” in his original promise; a simple piece of evidence to support this is the existing oppression towards immigrants and black people today. Simply being black means that “for any act of mine, I shall get twice as much...blame.” (Hurston). Because she is black, Hurston will be blamed more than her white counterparts for the same action committed. This is a violation of the concept of equality as well as a violation of basic human rights. This violation of rights and equality proves that Jefferson could not have meant to include black people in his definition of “men”; we are living up to Jefferson’s promise- the exclusion of black people. Similarly, in “Two Ways to Belong in America” Mukherjee describes a statement made by her sister, Mira, about the fact that America recently adopted new laws limiting the rights of documented immigrants with: ‘“I feel manipulated and discarded. This is such an unfair way to treat a person who was invited to stay and work here”’ (paragraph 8). American-born individuals, according to Mukherjee’s essay, have substantial rights that immigrants in America do not. However, according to Jefferson, all men are deserved certain rights, so it is clear that in Jefferson’s statement, “all men”, he does not mean to include immigrants.
Oppression, ingrained in the sacred and treasured words of our Founding Fathers, has penetrated the very fabric of our society today. Thomas Jefferson ultimately meant to exclude women, black people, and immigrants from the promise of the opening of his second paragraph in the Declaration of Independence. Because of this purposeful exclusion that is still present today in sexism, racism, and anti-immigrant rhetoric, the America of today meets Jefferson’s intended promise. Upon reflecting on the words of our Founding Fathers as well as on the structure of today’s society in relation to oppression, one might wonder if such exclusion of marginalized peoples is committed due to malice or rather due to never changing, never questioned societal norms regarding minorities.
This is an essay I crafted for my English II Honors class during sophomore year.
9 December 2016
In 2014, Elliot Rodger, a college student, posted a manifesto on YouTube describing how he felt women had rejected him throughout his life, how he believed women never gave him the chance at a romantic relationship. Following the creation of this video, Rodger proceeded to violently murder several women at a sorority house in Santa Barbara. Elliot Rodger perceived rejection from the women in his life; this rejection presented itself as a loss of masculinity to Rodger, leading him to attempt to make up for that masculinity through violently dehumanizing the women around him. The dehumanization of women based on the perception of rejection as detrimental to masculinity is present both in contemporary society as well as in literature. Winston Smith perceives women’s sexual rejection of him in 1984 as detrimental to his masculinity, leading him to act violently, dehumanizing women in an over-assertion of that lost masculinity; mirroring today’s world in that sexual rejection of men by women leads them to over-assert their masculinity by acting violently towards women.
Winston anticipates sexual rejection from a woman in his life, Julia, which he perceives as a loss of his sexual dominance, dehumanizing her to compensate for that loss; in our world, men sexually dehumanize women when women display rejection towards them because of a feeling of lost masculinity, of lost sexual dominance. Winston expresses emotions of extreme hatred towards Julia during Two Minutes Hate, “...hallucinations flashed through his mind. He would ravish her and cut her throat at the moment of climax...He hated her...because he wanted to go to bed with her and would never do so…” (Orwell 15). It is because of the rejection Winston perceives from Julia that he dehumanizes her by having visions of raping her. Winston understands this rejection as damaging to his masculinity, particularly the element of sexual dominance within his masculinity. In order to rectify the act of his masculinity being lost, he overcompensates in the demonstration of his masculinity through violently dehumanizing Julia. In an article titled “Interpersonal Rejection as a Determinant of Anger and Aggression,” the authors note, “...sexual offenses may also be seen as aggression in response to feelings of rejection… Rapists commonly report having conflicts with women arising from perceived or actual rejection...” (Leary et al.). Individuals prone to the sexual assault of women perceive rejection as threatening to their own masculinity. The violence arising from sexual rejection is caused by men feeling that they need to assert their lost masculinity in another way, through sexual dominance. In the article, “How Rejection Turns Men Violent”, this is further elaborated on, "if men experience rejection as threatening to their social identity as men...they may try to over-demonstrate masculinity in some other way" (Tourjee). In terms of social status, masculinity plays a key role in the way men are accepted socially, and rejection is seen by them as a removal of an element of their masculinity, causing them to attempt to maintain their social status as men, as inherently masculine, by overcompensating through violence. If men feel rejection as threatening to the masculinity that defines them, they must somehow make up for that threat in a way that is seen as masculine, in this case, through dehumanizing women in enacting sexual violence against them. Just as Winston thought about violently raping the woman he perceived rejection from, men in our world who believe they are being sexually rejected exhibit sexual violence toward the women they feel rejection from, believing the sexual element of their masculinity has been stolen and that they need to assert their lost masculinity through sexual violence. This assertion of lost masculinity does not only take place through sexual violence, but also occurs in physical violence, particularly in the murdering of wives by their husbands.
Winston, after being rejected by his wife during sexual intimacy, feels he has lost the control required in being masculine, so compensates by dehumanizing Katherine through fantasizing about her murder, just as in our world, rejection of husbands by their wives leads the husbands to murder their counterparts because men feel an element of their masculinity, control, has been lost. Winston, after discussing his wife’s tendency to stiffen and pull away during intimate sexual moments, remarks he is sorry he did not push Katherine off a cliff (Orwell 132, 135). Katherine’s rejection of Winston is perceived to be inimical by Winston to the control he normally maintains over women; this causes Winston to feel the necessity of the establishment of masculinity through being violent towards Katherine. The rejection of Winston by his wife leads him to dehumanize her; Winston’s masculinity is being threatened, so he overcompensates with his masculinity in thinking about killing her. Winston regains the control he feels he has lost through dehumanizing Katherine; it gives him a sense of power over her that he believed to be removed by the rejection. In “Interpersonal Rejection as a Determinant of Anger and Aggression”, it is noted that rejection of husbands by their wives often begets violence towards the women, specifically, murder (Leary et al.). When faced with rejection in our world, men become violent, lashing out at women they were rejected by as a result of a threat to their masculinity. In this situation, that threat is control, specifically the lack of control that husbands should feel over their wives. In the article it says, “men...reported being unable to deal with the rejection or their lack of control over their wives” (Leary et al.). Women’s rejection of men is seen by the men as evidence of their control over women being threatened, control being a significant facet of masculinity. When men see this lack of control as a threat to their masculinity, they act violently to reassert themselves, to regain the sense of control they feel they have lost. Men dehumanize their wives through murder because they feel their grip on control over their wives is at risk; they require the assertion of their deprived masculinity through violence. Just as Winston fantasizes about killing his wife after she rejects him, after his control over her is threatened, this article indicates that in our world, when men are rejected by their wives and their control over them is slipping, men find rejection justification for murder. Both sexual violence towards women as well as the murder of women by men are results of rejection being viewed as harmful to masculinity.
Masculinity and rejection are closely associated and are codependent. Masculinity is seen as the key to authority for men, and rejection is viewed as detrimental to this. The perception of masculinity often forces men to live up to impossible expectations, of supreme authority and dominance. When their ability to live up to these expectations is threatened, men attempt to meet the standards of masculinity by exhibiting violence. In our world and in 1984, acts of violence towards women often occur due to the assertion of masculinity. Winston is a representation of the men in our world who act violently in reaction to perceived or real sexual rejection and in an effort to compensate for lacking masculinity.
Leary, Mark R., Jean M. Twenge, and Erin Quinlivan: “Interpersonal Rejection as a Determinant
of Anger and Aggression.” Personality and Social Psychology Review 10 (2006): 111.
Web. Dec. 2016.
Orwell, George. 1984. New York: Signet Classics, 1977. Print.
Tourjee, Diana. “How Rejection Turns Men Violent”. Broadly. Vice, n.d. Web.
26 Apr. 2016.
Here you will find specifically academic pieces, such as essays I have completed for school that are related to the pursuit of justice.