Literacy and Liberty

Posted by: , September 5, 2018, 7:59 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I was apprehensive when I first sat down in the uncomfortable stacking chair that marked the beginning of convocation. Part of the seat was on an incline, forcing a point on my back into the chair. The speech by President Ensign began with the usual rhetoric; how exciting it is that the class of 2022 is here, and how we are the future. I was looking in the other direction, when one of her sentences caught my attention. To my disbelief, President Ensign was talking about truth seeking. She went on to explain the grayness of truth, the difficulty it takes to find it, and our duty to search. Up to that point, I had never heard a speech about truth from an authority member. I was finally in a place that valued the same things I valued.

Later on, President Ensign stated that we have made great world progress, using poverty statistics, as if it was that simple. The Native Americans would be considered way below the poverty level, because of their way of life. Is it progress that their land was taken over by the United States, and filled with an economy and industry? What about the destruction of our environment? As I listened to her argument, instead of anger, I felt excitement. Her speech reminded me that in order to fulfill my duty at Dickinson, I had to say things that Dickinson may not be pleased with. As I put my pen on the paper to sign my name into the Dickinson records, I felt a twinge of nervousness. I was signing a contract not only to the school, but to myself. In that moment, I was promising that I would do everything in my power to move the world further, even if that means going places that others don’t want to.

2 Comments so far
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Talya, I’m so glad you’ve chosen to write about Convocation as a *group* and personal literacy event. Now, how can you sharpen your engagement with the event itself, and (more to the point) with President Ensign’s speech? What if you quote from it and analyze aspects of it that moved or troubled you? Similarly, if you do keep your counterexample, you’ll want to get more specific than “The Native Americans…” You’re onto something promising, for sure!

   Professor Seiler 09.06.18 @ 4:27 pm

I love the way you strayed away from the expected, typical sense of a literary event, a speech provided to a group is something I never would’ve thought of. It’s super interesting to read your personal view of an event that we all experienced and were effected by in different ways. I can’t wait to read more!

   Logan 09.06.18 @ 7:01 pm

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