Essay on The Relationship Between Centres And Margins Through Language

Essay on The Relationship Between Centres And Margins Through Language

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Furthermore, Tony Harrison’s V explores the relationship between centres and margins through language. Harrison uses language in order to not only give voice to the working class, but also to challenge dominant ideologies and dominant voices which are bound up with the use of Standard English. Previously discussed in reference to The Lonely Londoners, Standard English is associated with power and elitism and thus ‘places as subordinate all the utterances that are literally or figuratively between inverted commas’ (). This is challenged in V. in which the privileged voice of the eloquent bourgeois poet () and the working class ‘skinhead’ argue. Harrison was concerned with issues of articulation and voice, this is clear throughout his poetry and he discusses this in an interview: ‘And that the idea of articulation, expression, became for me absolutely vital to existence’ (). Furthermore, the importance of giving articulation to the working class allows for Harrison to preserve it: And “the language of the powerful ruling class always kills off the language of the class beneath it” (). The use of the profanity, words such as ‘Fuck’, () ‘Piss’ () and ‘Cunt’ () serve to give the working class a voice, for the working class are much more likely to use stigmatised language such as profanity (). These monosyllabic words in comparison to the central speaker of the poem serves to only emphasise the simplistic nature of these words, especially when compared to words such as ‘obelisk’, emphasised by the elegiac quatrain used which calls back to early poets. This is furthered by the skinhead’s reaction to other languages and cultures, the language of ‘privilege and authority’ (Astley 35):
So what’s a cri-de-coeur, cunt? Can’t yo...


... middle of paper ...


...h working class voices tended to appear as comedians (). A production of V. would run counter to this notion as it would mean the curse words, to which may took offence (Eyre 37), would be broadcast. As discussed previous, the language of the working class heavily focuses on words which are stigmatise which reveal frustrations over social inequality and marginalisation. However, the outcry of the poem and its broadcast highlight a need to suppress minority languages such as the working class by the elites who control the media. In a similar way, the media seeks to marginalise the working class representation by censoring the poems language which is heavily based within class structures. By doing this, it allows for the continued dominant language of elitist Standard English, furthering the silencing of the working class through homogenising culture and education ().

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