Our introduction to Zami is largely centered on Lorde’s childhood and the environment she grew up in. Specifically, Lorde focuses a great deal on her mother, who appears to play a huge role in her perception of the world. She attributes much of her personality in retrospect to her mother—things like her strength, poetic language, and even anger. As she puts it, “I am a reflection of my mother’s secret poetry as well as of her hidden angers” (32).
Looking back at the other piece we read by Lorde, “The Uses of Anger,” there seems to be a clear impact of Lorde’s upbringing and her mother’s approaches to anger on her ideas. Lorde’s mother appears to address racism by ignoring it—“it was so typical of my mother when I was younger that if she couldn’t stop white people from spitting on her children because they were Black, she would insist it was something else” (18). She also stifles her emotions, not wanting to appear weak. However, in contrast, Lorde’s essay tells us that anger is a useful tool and a necessary consequence of growing up in a prejudiced society. Instead of avoiding the problem of racism, we know Lorde grows up to become an outspoken advocate and addresses it directly. It seems that the “hidden angers” Lorde observes in her mother as a child go on to strongly influence her social and political ideas, either as a reactionary response or an inspiration.
Lorde’s parents play a very large role in her life, especially compared to the roles of parental figures in the other books we’ve read. What other ways can we see the influence of Lorde’s parents in her writing style or other essay(s)/ what we know of her?
Lorde goes goes into great detail about “other-ness” in the text, e.g. her family’s immigrant status, her blackness, her contrary behavior, her womanhood. In what ways does Lorde’s “other-ness” come into play, both within her family life and outside in the communities she lives in?