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Language as a Key to Identity

The following quotes illustrate the topic's ambiguity.  Use these to establish the scope of your topic--to begin to specify the subtopics that verbalize various differing opinions on the same issue--to begin to develop a guide to your reading.

"Language. I loved it. And for a long time I would think of myself, of my whole body, as an ear."    Maya Angelou

"For every man there is something in the vocabulary that would stick to him like a second skin. His enemies have only to find it."    Ambrose Bierce

"Language is a mixture of statement and evocation."    Elizabeth Bowen

"Mechanical difficulties with language are the outcome of internal difficulties with thought."    Elizabeth Bowe

"Language is the roadmap of a culture. It tells you where its people came from and where they are going."    Rita Mae Brown

"Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides."    Rita Mae Brown

"The coldest word was once a glowing new metaphor."    Thomas Carlyle

"Language is power, life and the instrument of culture, the instrument of domination and liberation."    Angela Carter

"Language is the armory of the human mind, and at once contains the trophies of its past and the weapons of its  future conquests."    Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"I have been a believer in the magic of language since, at a very early age, I discovered that some words got me into trouble and others got me out."    Katherine Dunn

"Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone."    Ralph Waldo Emerson

"How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?"    E.M. Forster

"The learned fool writes his nonsense in better language than the unlearned, but it is still nonsense."    Benjamin Franklin

"Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow."    Oliver Wendell Holmes

"Thanks to words, we have been able to rise above the brutes, and thanks to words, we have sunk to the level of the demons." " Aldous Huxley

"Language is the dress of thought."    Samuel Johnson

"If it is true that the violin is the most perfect of musical instruments, then Greek is the violin of human thought."    Helen Keller

"We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives."    Toni Morrison

"We defend ourself with descriptions and tame the world by generalizing."    Iris Murdoch

"Words differently arranged have a different meaning, and meanings differently arranged have a different effect."    Blaise Pascal

"Words are loaded pistols."    Jean-Paul Sarte

"Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people."    William Butler Yeats

Downs, Hugh.  "Kid Lit." Perspectives.  Atlanta, GA:
Turner Publishing, 1995.  Pages 94-99.
DuBois, W. E. B.  The Autobiography of W. E. B. DuBois.  International
Publisher's Company, Inc.,  1968.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo.  "Literature." Essays and Lectures.  Ed.Joel Porte.
New York, NY:  Literary Classics of the United States of America,Inc., 1983. Pages 415-430.
Gates, Henry Louis.  "Cultural Pluralism."   Representative American  Speeches.  Vol. 62.  Ed.  Owen Peterson.  NY:  The HW Wilson                 Company, 1991.  Pages 56-64.
Lewis, David.  W. E. B. DuBois:  Biography of a Race.  New York:Henry,Holt,  and Co., 1993.
Lopez, Barry H.  Of Wolves and Men.  New York:  Charles Scribner
and Sons, 1978.
Momaday, N. Scott.  Way to Rainy Mountain.
Orwell, George.  "Politics and the English Language."

Puller, Lewis B.  Fortunate Son.  New York:  Grove Weidenfeld, 1991.
Rodriguez, Richard.  A Hunger of Memory.
Rosenblatt, Roger.  "I am Writing Blindly."  TIME Magazine.  November 6, 2000. Vol. 156 No. 19.
Thoreau, Henry David. Walden and Civil Disobedience.  New York:
New American Library, 1980.
Twain, Mark.  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.