September 16, 2012

Each Agent for Themselves.

     Campbell makes some heavy observations on Sojourner Truth’s speech at the Women’s Rights Convention; more specifically Gage’s version. Gage’s version of the speech sounds like a uneducated, stereotypical black women speaking. We know that isn’t true in some respect. Truth was a woman who grew up with a Dutch English background. So the imagined tone and dialect of Truth could be entirely made up.

     Yet, Campbell’s version of the speech is also different. Granted, I have never heard someone with a Dutch English accent speak, but Campbell’s version is not what I imagined. When we were shown Marius Robinson’s recounting of the speech, it seemed more authentic. Yet, it also didn’t portray the intensity and the “language” that Campbell and Gage both have in theirs.

     What does this imply? I believe that at the time, it was very much still a man’s world. Obviously it was because women were having conventions about their rights at the time. Men still viewed women as these fragile creatures that needed to be pampered, sheltered, and shut away from the reality of the world.

     In that aspect, that makes men the agent/cy of Truth’s speech. They decided how to portray the speech the way they believed it should have been said; a fragile, gentle women speaking about her “rights”. Gage and Campbell did the same thing. They made the woman extremely passionate and in some aspect, made her more credible yet less educated. Robinson may have made Truth sound like a dainty, but she still sounded educated. Campbell and Gage made her sound like she had a true purpose, but unable to speak properly. Each one wanting THEIR opinion to shine in an another women’s text.

1 comment:

rachel rivera said...

I think the different translations of the speech are interesting. Like Dr. Graban said in class, Truth authorized Gage's version of the speech and said it was okay. I think it's interesting because you see it in that dialect and today, at least, you think of an uneducated black woman and I don't even think of her fighting for women's rights but against slavery. I see her speaking out at an anti-slavery convention instead of a women's convention.

Then, with Campbell's version, I can see her purpose more clearly and I can understand exactly what she's fighting for.

I agree that each author's interpretation was probably meant more for their own purpose to shine through so it's interesting to see just how a dialect can change the purpose/presentation so drastically.

(That said, it could also be like that because we're in a different time.)

I also think we could look at this from the perspective they were: they were each trying to target a certain audience and the dialect they chose to present this speech in allows this. Are they trying to keep historical accuracy (Campbell's supposed reason for correcting this) or are they trying to reach a certain audience?

(I apologize if this makes no sense; I'm kind of trying to figure out what I mean myself as I write this.)

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