Graduate Review


Stories depicting injustice are inherently complicated by the limitations of language. Jacques Derrida’s “Circonfession” uses deconstructionist theory to describe the flawed nature of the confession in that proximity becomes problematic: those who experience are unable to authentically deliver the truth of that experience. Language also becomes an imperfect channel through which to deliver the truth; the truth lies in both a person’s ability to bring meaning to individual experience, but also, in an audience’s ability to interpret that experience; however, both sides of the conversation are challenged through an imperfect channel of communication. Therefore, silence of human behavior may very well be the ultimate exposure of injustice: what is unsaid becomes more telling, body language, unique word choice, and the ways people arrange their bodies. Mary Rowlandson’s Narrative and Edward P. Jones’ novel The Known World both explore experiences in which language becomes more of a fallacy, failing to directly expose an unjust world, despite the authors’ attempts in using language as a means to expose an unjust truth. Ultimately, language indirectly exposes injustice by being descriptive of a hierarchical system.



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