Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
A voice that has been silenced for so long has much to say. Whether still confined or set free, the statement applies equally to both. The silenced voice wants not only to tell his or her story, but to share the life experiences which in turn reveal the identities of these individuals. These silenced voices then are not those of the oppressors, but the oppressed; and when an oppressor wants to share his or her story, the oppressed wants to tell their side of it as well. How can those labeled the marginalized outcasts of society express their feelings and share their perspectives if they are forced into silence? How would they ever be able to break this silence? Nevertheless, for so long the dominant race—those of European ancestry—has pervaded in North America since the colonization of the land during the 1ate 15th and early 16th centuries. But even before they arrived, the European man long before dominated in the Western world. It was the white man who was adventurous and therefore it was he who would have stories to tell; it was he who has accomplished many “feats” and in turn who knows himself and his rightful place in society. It would be these “courageous” men of pale skin, fair eyes, and light-colored hair who would be allowed to not only share their stories but capture it permanently on paper. These stories chronologically told and written on paper by the scribe himself which consisted of his life and life experiences formed a genre of writing—the autobiography.
Steitz, Jay-Nel, "Gender and self-representation in Maya Angelou's autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" (2014). Master's Theses. 34.