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In "Babel-17," why would someone speak a language without "I" and...

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jjokonda | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 13, 2008 at 2:55 AM via web

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In "Babel-17," why would someone speak a language without "I" and "you"?

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 13, 2008 at 7:56 AM (Answer #1)

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In many of his novels—and in his non-fiction, actually—Delaney plays with what it means to be a subject, and with what language does to human consciousness, especially how it determines the world we live in. When he does so, he draws upon both the language theories he's studied and his personal experience as a Black gay man in America. To answer the question more directly, if you eliminate those words, perhaps you eliminate those concepts and practices, and blur the distinctions between individuals. If you did so, you might be able to do away with the things that come with those distinctions: hierarchy, violence, etc.

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