Ted Chiang's Story of Your Life

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Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life” is a short science fiction story that explores the principals of linguistic relativity through in interesting relationship between aliens and humans that develops when aliens, known as Heptapods, appear on Earth. In the story Dr. Louise Banks, a linguist hired by the government to learn the Heptapods language, tells her unborn daughter what she has learned from the Heptapods as a result of learning their language. M. NourbeSe Philip’s poem “Discourse on the Logic of Language” also explores the topic of language and translations, as she refers to different languages as her “mother tongue” or “father tongue.” Although these two pieces of literature may not seem to have much in common both explore the topics of language and translation and connect those ideas to power and control. In “Story of Your Life” Chiang connects language and power through his character Colonel Weber. Chiang creates Weber’s character to symbolize the suspicious and untrusting views of the government has towards the heptapods arrival on Earth. This suspicion is seen by the gover...

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