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Adrienne Rich vs Ralph Ellison Adrienne Rich and Ralph Ellisons essays both refer to their means of resistance to the oppression they experience in their lives Richs When We Dead Awaken Writing as Re-Vision describes her experiences as a female writer overwhelmed by the patriarchy in the masculine world of the academyRich 557 Ellisons essay An Extravagance of Laughter is an account of his life as an African American in the largely white population of New York City Throughout both of their essays Rich and Ellison discuss their different means of dealing with the oppression they encounter in their lives Richs concept of revision allows her to see the past and deal with her present situation accordingly thus she can improve upon her future by learning from the past Ellisons laughter allows him to cope with the discrimination and suppression of African Americans Laughter is Ellisons way of surpassing his reality Unlike Adrienne Rich Ellisons laughter doesnt transform his reality His laughter transcends his reality Laughter is Ellisons way of coping with his reality His means of dealing doesnt allow him to transform his reality since it is not possible Laughter is Ellisons way of dealing with the reality he knows since he cannot alter his reality His knowledge of the laughing barrels certainly does not transform the white society to equal his oppressed African American society It may in fact be said that laughing barrels made the white society resent the black societys power over them with their infectious laughter as illustrated by the following quote the uproar from the laughing-barrels could become so contagious and irresistible that any whites who were so unfortunate as to be caught near the explosions of laughter would find themselves compelled to join in - and this included even such important figures as the mayor lawyer cotton broker Baptist minister and brewers of prime white-lightning whiskey It was an appalling state of affairs for despite their sternest
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