English Literature Questions

Topics: Black people, Essay, Michel de Montaigne Pages: 6 (2453 words) Published: December 16, 2012

English 1A

28 June 2010

Quiz #1

1) In “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me What Is?”, James Baldwin believes that Black English is simply a dialect. He continuously gives examples of how some languages are considered dialects and why they are not only dialects. He also continuously defines what a language is. Language, in general, “reveals the speaker.” It allows the people to “evolve a language in order to describe and control their circumstances.” Baldwin’s example is of the language of French. He goes on to say a man in one part of a country does not speak the same French as another man in a different part of the country, nevertheless, these men couldn’t understand another speaker from a whole different country that speaks French. He justifies this by saying that they all have different “realities to articulate.” To Baldwin, articulation (describing) is synonymous with controlling their surroundings. Furthermore, Baldwin writes that language is a political power because of the strong resistance of each of these people to keep their language. Their determination reveals their identity that can “connect one with, or divorce one from, the larger, public, or communal identity.” Furthermore, language is power because it reveals these identities so specifically. Certain languages (all English in Baldwin’s families, schools, and range of salaries. Furthermore, one’s language will reveal how young one is, one’s self-esteem, and even one’s future. example of England) reveal where one comes from. This area would have particular To Baldwin, Black English is not entirely a dialect. The language has effected American culture and converted it into what it is. Because it is so obvious that Black English is used, Americans cannot deny its being. Blacks came to America speaking many different languages and needed to find a similar one to unite them and to describe to each other what was happening around them. The bibles given to them were the only article that united them and thus, it was used to create communication. “A language comes into existence by means of brutal necessity, and the rules of the language are dictated by what the language must convey.” There was obviously a “brutal necessity” to not only speak English now that they were in an English country, but to convert it into something that united them and excluded those who tried to suppress them. Blacks needed to make the language their own to convey the emotions they felt and make it known to each other. Baldwin uses an example of himself to describe the necessity for the language. The language not only united all blacks but also protected them. The speed and unusualness (to the white people) of the language allowed for Blacks to help protect each other if they did something “wrong” such as stand in front of a white man. 2) According to “Introduction: What is an Essay?”, the essays written by Michael de Montaigne are similar to essays by modern essay writers because it is still used as a form of writing to try out or experiment with ideas. Also, modern essays writers follow informal, flexible, and a modest approach when writing essays as Michael de Montaigne did. Even modern essay writers put themselves as the center of the work just as Montaigne presented in his written texts. Furthermore, the idea having a personal identity within essays was also found within Montaigne’s essays.

3) I think the last word in E.B. White’s “ Once More to the Lake is “death” because it depicts White's realization of the life cycle. The very last line of the essay shows how White tries live his childhood once again through his son: "I watched him, his hard little body, skinny and bare, saw him wince slightly as he pulled up around his vitals the small, soggy, icy garment. As he buckled the swollen belt suddenly my groin felt the chill of death." White takes his father's place on the trip, just as his son takes White's boyhood role. White,...
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