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How my inability to speak has affected me in negative ways


UnBound 1 / 4  
Dec 4, 2016   #1
Prompt: Susan Sontag, AB'51, wrote that "ilence remains, inescapably, a form of speech." Write about an issue or situation when you remained silent, and explain how silence may speak in ways that you remained silent, and explain how silence may speak in ways that you did or did not intend. "The Aesthetics of Silence" (1967)

After being silent for so long, I have forgotten that I have a voice. "Can I have this candy, Rahul" "Sure", "I'm going to take this" "Go right ahead, I don't mind", "You are going to do this math program, whether you like it or not" "Uuuhh..."(silence) I have always questioned myself whether I will ever find my voice and speak out on my behalf. While many consider silence to be a treasure, I find it to be a punishment. Throughout my life, as far as I could remember, people have been deciding what is right or wrong for me without my consent. People have bullied me when I didn't have the power to fight back. My silence has forced

Four years ago, I had an argument with my parents filled with bickering and insults that lasted nearly for a month. I guess the phrase, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" perfectly fits this period of my life. As always the argument was a result of my education. Having Indian parents' means that I must get straight A's in all my classes, no exceptions. I was in the middle of doing my homework when my mom called me.

"Rahul, I've been noticing that you've been playing more than the allowed time on your phone. Have you noticed your grades lately," narrated my mother.

"Mom, I have A's in most of my classes, I only have two B's," I replied.

"Why are you trying to argue with me?"

"Wait what, I was merely saying that I have been working and I only have two B's, when was I trying to argue with you?"

The next two hours resulted in a back and forth argument between my mother that resulted in rolling of the eyes and deep sighs. I was not able to argue with her because I knew whatever I say would be considered as back-talking and meaningless. People have been dictating whatever I do, and how my future would play out. For the next month or so, I chose to mask my emotions from my parents in fear that if I say something, I will only spark the flames. Whenever I met my mother's gaze, I would quickly avert in fear that the situation would be brought up again. Silence may be bliss for many, but unfortunately for me, it is not. I did not intend my silence to effect me in a adverse way. To me, my silence was an act of peace, to show them respect, but to my parents, my silence conveyed the message that I was vulnerable to their commands. They had the power to dictate my actions. My silence has caused my voice to be squelched in the presence of my parents.

My culture and religion play vital roles in my life. I consider myself to be deeply integrated with my indian culture. My religion, Hinduism, has taught me to be unselfish and to avoid discriminating others for what they believe in. Many people have discriminated me on my religion but I could not do anything because I knew that if I did, there would be unintended consequences. My unforgettable experience happened at the Health and Science School.

It's one thing when someone else bullied you, but it's a completely different feeling when your closest friends do racist actions in a condescending way. For eight months, I had to endure what started off as a joke but soon turned for the worst when they would constantly perform classical dancing in a way to mock me and my culture. I tried to ignore them but it was no use, they would text me links to classical dances and ask me where's the red dot on my forehead, thinking that I would feel hurt. At times I thought of staying home from school in fear of being harassed. Through all this discrimination I endured, I did not fight back and remained silent. I believed that if I start insulting them or consult a teacher, I will be labeled as someone who cannot handle a few negative words. The unintended consequence from me being silent was that my closest friends engaged in discriminating me so much that I felt insecure about myself. Since I did not tell anyone about this problem, my "friends" figured out that they will not get in trouble no matter how much they insult me.

Suspended for creating multiple threads on the same topic.

Holt [Contributor] - / 7,633 2022  
Dec 5, 2016   #2
Babu, your numerous paragraphs about how silence has negatively affected you are engaging and enlightening. However, there is a sudden change of topic within the essay from the point where you were dealing with your parents to when you dealt with your friends. Don't shock the reader that way. As the reader comes across the sudden shift in discussion, the reader will think that there is a missing link between the two paragraphs because the reader will be confused by the sudden shift in presentation. You can avoid this problem by properly presenting a transition sentence at the end of your story about your parents, slowly introducing the religious aspect of your respect for them and as the reason for your silence. Then present a transition paragraph that will inform the reader that the next story, will be about the treatment you receive from your friends. Then you can present the story about the bullying. Transition sentences are of vital importance because it helps the reader keep track of the stories you are sharing and allows you to better present your story in a manner than can be recalled by the reader.
OP UnBound 1 / 4  
Dec 5, 2016   #3
@Holt

How is this?

They had the power to dictate my actions. My silence has caused my voice to be squelched in the presence of my parents. While I have experienced enforced silence from my parents, my silence did not end there. There have been times where I have been silenced due to my beliefs.

My culture and religion play vital roles in my life. I consider myself to be deeply integrated with my indian culture.
Holt [Contributor] - / 7,633 2022  
Dec 5, 2016   #4
Definitely a better presentation and a good attempt at a significant transition sentence. However, I believe that that is an even better way to transition your statement. Please refer to my example below:

My parents knew that my silence was something they could expect from me. My silence was a form of winning for them because of our religious beliefs. Our religion dictated the utmost of respect for our elders. Therefore, my silence was a way of honoring my parents wishes and respecting our religious beliefs. At least, that is what my parents choose to believe and I let them continue to believe that. In truth, religion does play vital role in my life and has successfully helped me to integrate my Indian culture in my current life.

Unfortunately, religion is also one of the major reasons that I am bullied by people outside my family. Specifically, from the xenophobes around me who believe that making fun of me because of my religion and cultural traditions is alright, because I choose to keep silent about it.


Do you see how the transition sentence at the end of the paragraph leads directly into the continuing transition in the new paragraph before you introduce the actual topic for discussion in the paragraph? That is the smooth transition that you should strive to present to the reader in order to make the change in topic almost flawless while your essay is being read.
OP UnBound 1 / 4  
Dec 6, 2016   #5
@Holt

I need your help in ending the last paragraph better
Holt [Contributor] - / 7,633 2022  
Dec 6, 2016   #6
See if this conclusion works for you.

My religious belief caused me to be bullied by so-called "friends" for 8 months. I kept silent as they mocked my cultures dress style, traditions, and artistic dance style via social media, racist actions in face to face settings, and condescending actions. They made me feel uncomfortable and unwelcome every chance they got. I kept silent because I feared that speaking up for myself and my background would make the harassment even worse. I endured the discrimination out of fear of being labeled as a "sissy", a "crybaby", or a socially inept person. All of which I knew I was not. My upbringing and religious training became my enemies in this case. The silence that I was taught was to be my protector in times of doubt and fear was turning into my worst enemy. A far worse enemy than my friends or parents could ever be to me.

My inability to speak, the silence that I was trained to use in order to avoid conflict or end an altercation caused the most negative effects on my life. My silence allowed people to walk all over me like a doormat because I did not want to risk breaking with my traditional training an escalating various situations in the process. My silence told those around me that it was alright to mock me, kick me, and ridicule me. They would get away with it because I would choose to remain silent. Was silence really bliss in this case? Maybe for others, but not for me. I acknowledge that silence can be a friend in most instances. However, for me, silence was the enemy that I could defeat in most personal and social settings.


You can make this the basis of your revised conclusion. Good luck with your revision work!


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