Fourth of July Rhetorical Analysis

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“Fourth of July”
September 16, 2011; September 19, 2011

Audre Lorde recalls her first experience of Washington D.C. in Fourth of July; she is transformed from an innocent naïve child to a serious adult who is discriminated against when the “realities of race in america and american racism” (line 30) is explicitly shown proving that her ideal land of the free does not exist.

Throughout the entire passage, Lorde is convinced that she needs to mature and become realistic since America is filled with racial hatred. When she learns that her family is going to Washington D.C. as a “graduation present” (3), she “packed for a week” (7) foreshadowing her excitement to soon turn to disappointment. As she and her family ride the train she enjoys feasts and believes everything will be just as perfect in Washington D.C. as the journey there was. Her great expectation shows the childish and oblivious mind she has, to her nothing is flawed and could possibly go wrong. Her high hopes quickly become imaginative and the harsh realities of segregation are revealed forcing her to be an adult. The transition between childhood and adulthood is rapidly sped when Lorde’s family is denied service at an ice cream parlor. Instead of protest or complaint her family silently leaves as if “nothing unusual [or] anti-american” (71) happened because it is socially accepted for Blacks to feel inferior to whites. The apostrophe “american” emphasizes her ides of freedom, democracy, and equality, yet her entire family was denied those rights. In reality there is nothing she can do about it and she must live with the inequalities placed upon her. As she becomes and adult and losses her childish image of her country and society her tone from excitement to disappointment changes when the true racist America is revealed.

As an adult, Lorde must face realities of prejudice and discrimination though it is painful. She squints her eyes in Washington D.C. because she was in “silent agony”...
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