The Voice of the Text

Australian Association of Writing Programs
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Text, 2007, 11 (1, April), pp. 1 - 12
Issue Date:
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In an essay entitled 'A Voice', the author Barry Lopez describes his first apprehension of the voices of others. In his case - a young man aspiring to be a writer - these others were everyone not white, middle-class, Catholic American men. Only after listening to and properly hearing the voices of people outside of his cultural boundaries, claims Lopez, did he discover his own voice. Understanding that his voice was not the only voice, that his truth was not the one truth, enabled him to find freedom as a writer: As long as it took for me to see that a writer's voice had to grow out of his own knowledge and desire, that it could not rise legitimately out of the privilege of race or gender or social rank, so did it take time to grasp the depth of cruelty inflicted upon all of us the moment voices are silenced, when for prejudicial reasons people are told their stories are not valuable, not useful. (Lopez 1999: 13)
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