I talked quite a bit in class on Tuesday and said pretty much what I think about the situation. I do believe that canons are a positive contribution to the literary world. I think that because is also looked as a means of “classification” it gets a lot of backlash. However, these authors have an identity and having a literary canon in a sense is only forming a sort-of literary community. This, as I see it, only mocks the “activist” aspect of our society. We have communities like LGBT, African Americans, Feminists, Physically/mentally impaired, etc. based off of the premise of activism, communal support, and calling for equality. These groups are grounded in the declaration of “being” the very “thing” that “casts” them as “different”. More often than not I have heard someone from the LGBT community (please correct me if I am misspoken, because I would hate to have done so) saying something along the lines of “I am gay and I am proud”. And most communities follow this form: “I am black and I am proud”, “I am a strong and independent woman”, “My disability doesn’t mean I am unable”….etc. These groups openly claim these “labels”—not because it classifies them, or even is labels them in the restricting sense—but because it is an undeniable PART of whom they are. The inner identity, exterior identity—the identity—of a person is explicit for a purpose, and irrevocably theirs to determine.
To “come out” of the “closet” is a declaration of an inner identity. To not deny the person you love and your ability to love. It is to not deny yourself a chance of the most fundamental and instinctual forms of happiness—good sex (…and love). To be proud of your blackness is claiming pride in your heredity, the hurtles they and you overcame, your very being, and your essence. It is to truly love what others determine to hate. It is to recognize the power of strife that brings wisdom in the face of others’ ignorance. To claim your strength in womanhood is acknowledging the strength of your womb. The womb that: sustains the existence of humanity, sacrifices her nutrients, her form, and herself in order to nurture a new life--and, which all-the-while, has been the defining factor of her womanhood as being inferior to men. And to identify your impairment, you identify the abilities gained, which eclipse the ones compromised—the same abilities that surmount the average abled person’s. It is a declaration of achieved endowments, which exposes that even an abled body is an impairment when trying to facilitate the same level of achievement and capabilities of a “disabled” body.
If these communities were to dissolve into the acidic singularity of sameness, then where would individuality be? Where would someone be able to find pride in themselves and those alike by declaring their “difference” as an equal and special part of who they are? Or even, where would someone go to learn about one way of life to help put his or her own life into more perspective? Or where would someone go to support those alike or different from himself or herself? How could one celebrate themselves and others if the space has been suppressed into a bleak unidentifiable plain of? …something I cannot even comprehend. No longer would one allowed a space to rejoice in self love and take pride to combat hate. I personally see the function of cannons to parallel how our society has functioned. I would not deny the essential parts of myself because they are also the words that define the hate for others. I take pride. Cannon’s provide the space that accepts the surpassing greatness of each individual in light of a shared strife. If cannons were to be removed then, in my view, the very aspect of accepting the individuality of an author and their work along with acknowledging their role as a progressive piece in a common collective movement would be undone. To erase the specific role that someone played as an individual and in a particular community, in order to make a greater sense of “oneness” (as in no labels) is a turn away from acceptance, and towards tolerance. To only tolerate their uniqueness as being part of a general majority. Not to accept, appreciate, and honor the beauty those who defy the norm, define a personal norm, and celebrate it with those who share and support their chosen identity.