Lecture Notes on Ericsson and Rich

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Stephanie Ericsson—“The Ways We Lie”

Ericsson explores the different types of lying in a straightforward manner in this essay, and that makes this essay the easier of the two to comprehend. At the bottom of the first page, Ericsson writes about the consequences of telling the truth and how inconvenient and painful the truth can be. In her essay, Ericsson classifies the different kinds of lies, from the most benign to the most harmful. She begins with the most common and socially acceptable, the white lie, and then explores other ways of avoiding the truth. See which lies you identify with and which ones you feel are the most damaging to the self and others.

Adrienne Rich—“Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying”

The Rich essay is definitely the more difficult of the two because it incorporates concepts from women’s and gender studies and explores what it means to be female and a lesbian in 1970’s America, as far as they relate to lying in terms of societal expectations and gender stereotypes. Lying is explored in a much more abstract way here, and much of Rich’s essay, as she is a famous feminist writer and lesbian advocate, is provocative in that she makes powerful declarations intended to create a strong reaction in the reader, whether the reader strongly agrees or disagrees with her statements about women’s sexuality and gender roles. She wants to provoke the reader into seeing the lesbian experience in a different light, but like Ericsson, she is also interested in investigating lying in general beyond gender, as a universal human experience so that all readers can relate to her essay. Did you feel you could relate to her essay? Which parts drew you in? On page 413, Rich writes, “To discover that one has been lied to in a personal relationship…leads one to feel a little crazy” (413). She returns to the horrifying universal effects of being lied to at the end of her essay: “When we discover that someone we trusted can be trusted no...
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