“A Question of Class”

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9 Responses to ““A Question of Class””

  1. Ebony Edwards-Ellis Says:

    I found this story to be an interesting twist on “passing” literature. In passing literature, which was common during the Harlem Renaissance, a very light-skinned (or mixed race) black person passes as white in order to advance socially, marry an otherwise unattainable partner, or to avoid other types of discrimination.

    I feel that Allison spends much time in her childhood “passing” as a member of the “noble poor” due to the shame of having so many people hold her family and associates as members of the “ungrateful poor.” Like many protagonists of passing literature, Allison seeks to avoid the fate that comes along with openly allying herself with members of her social group. She even states that “I grew up trying to run away from the fate that destroyed so many people I loved, and having learned the habit of hiding, I found I had also learned to hide from myself. I did not know who I was, only that I did not want to be *they*, the ones who are destroyed or dismissed to make the “real” people, the important people, feel safer.”

    The fact that Allison is also lesbian in a notoriously homophobic society only intensifies her desire to “avoid examining in any way what I knew about my life.” Even though she lived openly as lesbian, Allison still did not fit in with the lesbian community due to the class and political differences within it.

  2. Rachel Shupe Says:

    This essay was wonderful. She seems very conflicted by her success. She is obviously somewhat successful in what she does (we are reading her work, after all) but very concerned with identifying herself with her unsuccessful family, in defending them and standing up as one of them. She is trying to convince us, but we do not need to be convinced as we only know what she tells us. She is using her writing as a way to convince herself.

  3. Duchard Louis Says:

    “A Question of Class” is a great essay in which Dorothy Allison talks about her life as a lesbian feminist and as a poor, and her desire to change the way she is. She focuses a lot of time explaining to us how things in her life were before and after she moves from South Carolina to Florida, with her stepfather that used to molest her and her sister when she was a kid; her life in college and after as a activist/lesbian. On of the most important message of her essay is that we can’t change the way we are just by hiding ourselves.

  4. Alan Liu Says:

    A Question of Class is a great essay. She talks about class structure and how it affected her life. She was poor and wanted to get away from it. I agree with her about the sterotype of proverty. This story made me sad about the abuse she had to go through.

  5. Onyekachi Ukwu Says:

    A good story. The protagonist of the story seems to be running away from the reality of her life. She has faced discrimination,abuses, and shame which had left her hiding throughout her life. She tries very hard to cut her connection to the past by severing her relationship with her family, joining feminist groups to fill that she is part of a better society. Yet She can’t find peace with herself till she reconciles with her family, and be proud of who she is. Well I didn’t understand quiet clearly the point the essay is trying to make but I will reread it.

  6. Nancy Yi Says:

    In “A Question of Class,” Allison describes her struggle to find her identity, as she attempts to escape from being “they.” “They,” are the poor that she describes as, “not noble, not grateful, not even hopeful.” She describes her family to be “white trash” doomed to repeat the drinking, unemployment, bastard children and drugs of the previous generations. Though she tries to escape and find a new identity with the lesbian community, she finds that she still cannot find her place, or her identity. Her family and her history are unique to herself, and she could not share it with anyone else, but her family.

  7. Rizwan Bakhshi Says:

    A good and very emotional read. She talks about how she grew up poor in an abusive family. She had been hiding all her life because of the shame she felt from being discriminated and abused and how she becomes and activist to overcome that shame. Allison is an open lesbian but she cannot does not feel that she even fits in that community due to difference in social class.

  8. Mina Batool Says:

    I found this story very interesting because it is from a point of view from a person who has always been looked down upon. ANd because of that it shows how society divides up the majority and minority with we and them. Making them the bad people and by calling those people they feel it is ok to talk bad about them or do bad things to them. As if they re “them” so they have no feelings. In general even, many times such victims of society often turn into criminals or terrorists. The society makes people turn out this way. Even people like the narrator who was born to a marriageless women. People treated her differently which made her even more different because of that treatment. It really shows the insensitivity of some people. And how they put the blame of the bad things that happen to “them” on “them”.

  9. Mina Batool Says:

    I agree with Rachel’s response. SHe has always been really confused about her identity because she is different. ALso she has always been put down so much that even when she’s attatining success she feels like she isnt entitled to it or deserve it. As she describes she didnt want to apply for things she even knew she could easily have gotten. Being looked down upon and being identified as the “them” she is very troubled about who she is.


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