Speaking in Tongues

Sadie Smith shows the reader that one does not have to alter their voice or identity to fit a new environment but instead can learn to Incorporate their original self to their new location. A main point mentioned again and again in Smiths essay is the idea of losing your original identity or voice. She uses multiple well known examples of this to get her point across. For example, Elise from the novel “My fair Lady” who lost “one voice and gained gained another”.

Elise sacrificed her original voice “at the steep price of everything she was, and everything she knows”. Elise was no longer the things she once Identified as but Instead a new unrecognizable person. Smith also compares this Idea of losing your Identity through change to her personal life. In fact she starts of her essay explaining how due to her move from Hillsides to Cambridge she fundamentalist’s her double voice for a ingle one”, one that “reflects the smaller world Into which her work led her”.

Now, as Smith goes on to describe this change as very Limiting, she says that as a society we should not, and cannot live as one “unified voice”. Of course, human beings are way more complicated than that and tells the reader that instead we should learn to incorporate all of us in however many voices that is. One way she does this is mentioning Shakespeare. Shakespeare unlike Elise and herself spoke in many voices.

This is part of the reason that Smith thinks he was so talented as an artist and as a writer. He was able to step away from who he was, become another voice but at the same time hold on to his original self. Overall, I think Smith is trying to say that we should not confined ourselves to what society tells us we should sound like but understand that we are more complicated and that it is k to be multi-dimensional.

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