Writing Back and Giving Agency to Suppressed Voices Proposal

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: Apr 5th, 2019


Writing back refers to the literature where an author reflects on past experiences. An author writes back on the issues that he/she has been passionately involved in and which affect the author’s life directly. Queer voices have been oppressed in the past; most writers who have experienced this oppression have found it necessary to write back.

The oppression of minority may be as a result of gender, race, class, or sexuality differences. Queer voices have been suppressed as a result of Power structures not giving equal rights and supporting the mutual development of the populace.

“A Room of One’s Own” is a book written by Virginia Woolf, it focuses on gender issues where women are oppressed. In her book, women are not allowed to participate in creative literature. In her days Woolf was a critic; she felt that her understanding of literature as a woman was not well acknowledged as compared to literature written by male authors.

For this reason, she wrote the book “A Room of One’s Own” where she takes the reader through her research and getting the reader to know the woman behind the many literature works she had written earlier. Woolf, in her work, dares the patriarchal system which only lets women live their life supporting the enterprise of men instead of choosing their own livelihood.

Writers like Ngugi wa Thiong’o in his novel “Decolonizing the mind”, give agencies and voice to community languages that have slowly become extinct as a result of the community members opting to speak English instead of their native languages.

Waters’ novel, “Tipping the velvet”, is set in the Victorian era in the late 19th century, it focuses on sexuality. Her novel has persistent lesbian themes which revolve on self discovery. In Tipping the Velvet, the characters with queer views and sexuality differences interact with the surrounding rather than isolating themselves (Waters 82).

Waters chose to write on the Victorian era because she felt the power structure in this era oppressed the gay and lesbian members of the community. According to Waters, most of the things people know about this era is stereotype and wrong. Waters considers herself as part of the gay and lesbian heritage; she portrays her support to homosexuality (Waters 57).

Waters work was influenced by Chris Hunt’s novel “Street Lavender”. Her intentions were to make her novel look like a female version of Street Lavender. The two novels are set in the Victorian era when the Criminal Law was being amended in London.

Section 11 of the law re-criminalized gay behavior in London. The two novels voice the homosexual minority in the society (Hunt 68). They speak for the queer voice of sexuality which at most times is assumed and ignored as though it does not exist.

The novels display unapologetic celebration and open support for the gay and lesbian diversity. Gay and lesbian literatures are portrayed in the two books in a positive way. The two novels give agency to a sexuality voice that was oppressed and ignored in the Victorian era.

Mary Prince wished that the good people of England would hear and understand what she felt and suffered from as a slave. She felt that she and her mother were treated unfairly and hoped that one day people will understand what she went through (Prince 32).

Throughout England, it was normal for corporal punishment to be inflicted on slaves, slave owners believed that it was necessary to punish slaves because they (slaves) had a refractory nature that necessitate their being punished. Throughout her life, she was sold to and by slave owners and spent her life serving them. Mary explains in her novel how she suffered as she was passed from one slave owner to another (Prince 47).

The oppression of slaves was as a result of slave owner continued insistence to being superior. Oppression was also a result of powerful men wielding power which is inherent from their families, these people remained in power because they feel they must. The people holding this power are unyielding and exercise their power in oppressing others.

In her work, Mary Prince sheds light on the issue of oppression that affected slaves in the Victorian era. Slaves were not allowed to own property or posses money; this made it difficult for slaves to make a living. Mary Prince decided to voice the mistreatment that slaves experienced and felt that people of England should hear about the suffering she and other slaves underwent.


In history, power structures have acted to suppress the queer voice of the minority. Writers like Waters and Chris Hunt are seen to support the voice of people with a difference in their sexual preference. Though sexuality was criminalized in the Victorian era which is the setting of the two novels, the two authors openly give agency to oppressed sexuality voices. Other writers have portrayed their concern suppressed slaves.

After being born as a slave, Mary Prince spent most of her life serving different slave owners. She feels that people of London should be given an opportunity to hear what she and other slaves went through and the experiences they had, thus voicing people who have been oppressed as a result of slavery. The authors write back on the issues and experiences that have influenced their lives.

Works Cited

Hunt, Chris. Street Lavender. Austin, TX: Bookpeople, 1988. Print.

Prince, Mary. The History of Mary Prince. Teddington, UK: The Echo Library, 2006. Print.

Waters, Sarah. Tipping the Velvet. Kendal Street, London: Virago Press Ltd, 1998. Print.

Wood, Marcus. Blind memory: visual representations of slavery in England and America, 1780-1865. Sandton City: Routledge, 2000. Print.

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