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Ibelema’s Identity Crisis and Wilson’s Oppositional Dress

Ibelema’s Identity Crisis and Wilson’s Oppositional Dress

In Minabrere Ibelema’s essay “Identity Crisis”, Ibelema suggests that the mainstream american culture is so powerful that all cultures conform to it. Ibelema does this by showing how the mass media portrays African Americans in relation to their cultural identity by using situation comedies as a measuring tool. Of the episodes Ibelema uses very few of them look at African Americans cultural identity. However, what they do is briefly address a cultural story line for one episode, but then revert back to the mainstream anglo programming. On the otherhand, Elizabeth Wilson says in her essay “Oppositional Dress” that sub cultures do exist in society and are strong enough to resist assimilation into the mainstream, and still exist on their own terms. Wilson proves her point by giving examples of sub cultures that appeared in society, and she shows that they still thrive today.On example Wilson uses is the hippie culture that evolved in the 1960’s. She points out that hippies can be seen today in some areas of the United states, proving her point. She also mentions other movements like the Gay Liberation Movement, the Punk movement, and the Skin Heads, who can all be seen in some form today. In mainstream american culture some individual sub cultures do get lost in the mainstream, but are not forgotten, however most oppositional cultures resist assimilation into the main steam and continue to define themselves on their own terms.

In Ibelema’s essay, he says that the mainstream culture is so strong that individual cultures assimilate into it. This proposition is not completely correct. The examples Ibelema uses are derived from situation comedies that are directed at a cross cultural mainstream audience. His point is that the African American culture is nonexistent, or assimilated because African American cultural values are not expressed fully in these sitcoms, thus they are a part of the assimilation process. Because these sitcoms are directed at a cross cultural audience the assumption Ibelema uses is false. The African American culture is not lost in america, its existence is found in the homes of African Americans throughout america and is passed on through mothers and fathers, and grand mothers and grand fathers.

An opposing view to this argument is Elizabeth Wilson’s essay “Oppositional Dress”. Her belief is that sub cultures exist in the mainstream society, and they dictate their own existence.

The Style of Beowulf

The Style of Beowulf

Ursula Schaefer in “Rhetoric and Style” gives an overview of the history of criticism of style:

Examination of the poem’s rhetoric and style started out with investigating common Germanic features. On the other end of the scale, attention was given to a possible Latin influence on the poem’s style. Recently, there have been reconsiderations of authochthonous traditions linked mainly with the analysis of larger narrative patterns (105).

Beowulf ‘s stylistic features will be examined in this essay, along with the perspectives of various literary critics.

T. A. Shippey in “The World of the Poem” expresses himself on the subject of a point of style in the Old English poem Beowulf: “The poet reserves the right to say what people are thinking; he does not, however, regard this as ultimately important” (39). It is true that the reader is forced to draw conclusions, from the words and actions of the characters, about the thoughts of the characters. This is one of the many preferences of the author which contribute to the style or “how” writers say what they say (Abrams 303).

Joan Blomfield in “The Style and Structure of Beowulf” takes note of two important features of the poem’s style – the irony and the tendency to antithesis:

This tendency to antithesis, frequently verging on paradox, and the constant play of irony are but stylistic manifestations of those movements of the poet’s thought which shape the very stuff of the poem (Blomfield 58).

Antithesis abounds: The poem has a reference to the burning of Heorot included in the description of its first glories, and the prediction of family strife with Ingeld while yet all is well in …

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…oks, 1977.

Donaldson, E. Talbot. “Old English Prosody and Caedmon’s Hymn.” Beowulf: The Donaldson Translation, edited by Joseph F. Tuso. New York, W.W.Norton and Co.: 1975.

Magoun, Frances P. “Oral-Formulaic Character of Anglo-Saxon Narrative Poetry.” In TheBeowulf Poet, edited by Donald K. Fry. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.

Schaefer, Ursula. “Rhetoric and Style.” In A Beowulf Handbook, edited by Robert Bjork and John D. Niles. Lincoln, Nebraska: Uiversity of Nebraska Press, 1997.

Shippey, T.A.. “The World of the Poem.” In Beowulf – Modern Critical Interpretations, edited by Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.

Tharaud, Barry. “Anglo-Saxon Language and Traditions in Beowulf.” In Readings on

Beowulf, edited by Stephen P. Thompson. San Diego: Greenhaven Press,1998.

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