Essay on When We Dead Awaken Writing as Re Vision edition2 2

Submitted By vaio_v
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The essay “When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision”, by Adrienne Rich goes back to the 50ies, in a very difficult period for women and female writers, clearly dominated by men. At that time women had a very traditional role: that of a wife, mother and muse for male engaged with domestic activities. Rich can be considered a pioneer, because she was of those women who managed to be a wife, mother and writer successfully. However, Adrienne Rich herself struggled to find her identity and free her imagination and expression.

In her essay, she is trying to gain her “female voice”, and persuade other females to do so as well. While Rich grew up in the 50ies as a middle-class woman, she was taught to be “universal” as she states. “Universal” meaning “non-female”. Her style in writing was formed by male poets, and in general, women writers adopted the “masculine style” in order to be accepted as writers. Rich tries to “awaken consciousness”. She insists that in order for women to find their own voice they should look back in time, with “fresh eyes” in order to be aware of the myth of woman’s role in society, a thing she describes as “re-vision”:

“Re-vision – the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction – is for us more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival. Until we can understand the assumptions in which we are drenched we cannot know ourselves. And this drive to self-knowledge, for woman, is more than a search for identity: it is part of her refusal of the self-destructiveness of male-dominated society.”

Adrienne Rich, strongly supports the idea of “re-vision” and describes it as “an act of survival”, in modern male-dominated society, so they can express their own ideas and feelings as females and not be under the shade of men or even trapped by their dominance. Even though at this point women are not on the spotlight, in order for them to regain their voice, one thing is very important to her, as she notes:

“We need to know the writing of the past, and know it differently than we have known it; not to pass on a tradition, but to break its hold over us” She even then