Keepers of Silence
After reading only the first page of Brothers and Keepers I could already see how silence and voice found common ground--as described in Yves-Charles Grandjeat's article--in Wideman's ability to speak to his brother in the form of letters. The distance and silence between Wideman and his brother allowed him to be hopeful that his brother might reunite with him despite the space, time, and unknowingness that existed between them-the silence. In this case voice was the unwillingness to get caught up in the "sense of urgency, of inpending disaster..." (pg5) that was plaguing those in close physical proximity to his brother's crime. This really makes me wonder about our definitions of voice and how more often than not we refer to voice in our class as the literal ability to speak out and the limitations that prevent people to do so due to race, gender, and/or class. I think that another way to understand voice is to look at it as choice: having the choice to create silence is also voice. Wideman chose to move away from home and in this action dilIberately created space and silence between him, his brother, and his family. However, it is crucial here to understand how silence as voice can also be a used as a silencing tool. For example, lately in our class, we have been discussing how choosing silence allows others to speak. I am not opposed to the sentiment behind this, however, I do realize another effect that choosing silence can have on the class in its entirety. When some classmates feel the need to silence themselves in order to allow others to speak it makes me feel as though I am 'missing out' on intellectual diversity. I guess what I am looking for this coming week as we further discuss Brothers and Keepers, is a conversation on how we can balance silence and voice in a way that does not inhibit our intellectual space.