Audre Lorde The Fourth Of July Analysis

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In Audre Lorde’s bildungsroman essay “The Fourth of July” (1997), she recalls her family’s trip to the nation’s capital that represented the end of her childhood ignorance by being exposed to the harsh reality of racialization in the mid 1900s. Lorde explains that her parents are to blame for shaping her skewed perception of America by shamefully dismissing frequent acts of racism. Utilizing copious examples of her family being negatively affected by racism, Lorde expresses her anger towards her parents’ refusal to address the blatant, humiliating acts of discrimination in order to emphasize her confusion as to why objecting to racism is a taboo. Lorde’s use of a transformational tone of excitement to anger, and dramatic irony allows those…show more content…
The reality of the matter, only known to the mother and father, is that the status quo of racist policies prohibited the Lordes from dining in the car. Lorde appeals to the reader’s pathos by subconsciously creating empathy for Lorde as she struggles with her parents not being truthful about foundational aspect of mid 1900’s American society – racism. Moreover, the use of situational irony is shrewdly expressed in Lorde’s interpretation of her family’s D.C. trip: “…the waitress was white, and the counter was white, and the ice cream I never ate in Washington DC was white and the white heat and the white pavement and the white stone monuments of my first Washington summer made me sick to my stomach…” (para. 24). Employing vivid imagery of how Lorde perceives her recently awoken sense of actual reality, she is able to express her understanding of the displeasing disparity between superior Whites and inferior Blacks. Unlike her jaded parents, Lorde expected the United States’ capital to uphold the same virtues it was founded upon – freedom, equality, liberty. Ironically, she finds Washington D.C. to be filled with inherent discrimination. Consequently the reasoning for Lorde’s blatant irony in her essay’s title: “The Fourth of July”. July 4th is supposed to represent the day the American founders broke away from an oppressive British rule to mark the birth of a free land. Paradoxically, they created a regime that was was more oppressive than the British. The racist foundation of the new nation is not exposed until the understanding of Thomas Jefferson’s implication of the phrase “all men are created equal” in the Constitution. These “men” strictly refer to the elite men that have conquered this new land of America – property-owning white men. Thus, women and those of color were not recognized as entities that possessed inalienable rights. Founding a

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