Time and Distance Overcome

Topics: Black people, Telephone, United Kingdom Pages: 3 (1014 words) Published: June 7, 2012
Time and Distance Overcome
Eula Biss discusses in her essay "Time and Distance Overcome" how the invention of the telephone ultimately resulted in one of the many racist acts in history. Black men were hung every day without even being guilty of charge. She certainly puts a lot of emphasis on describing these hangings which sort of makes her essay quite monotone, but in the end definitely makes this essay a lot more personal. I think that the purpose of this essay is to bring back the racial question which is still very present in our society today. The text in itself is quite symbolic. With the invention of the phone came the wire, and as she writes in the text "Even now it is an impossible idea that we are all connected, all of us". Back then it was impossible to understand the physics and the overall technology, because it was simply not present. Yes, Thomas Edison invented the light bulb and this was well obliged because people could relate to the problem of not having any light. The phone on the other hand was not a typical problem in the household and few saw it as a hurdle, therefore it wasn't as well accepted as the light bulb for an example. But to put the quotation in perspective, and to describe the overall symbolic of the text it's very important to understand that what Eula Biss is ultimately trying to describe is that we're all connected somehow. Even though everyone didn't have a phone, the poles were still being put up in front of the houses. This could certainly be considered a symbol to the equality that should prevail in society; everyone is connected, everyone is equal and we all descent from the same. Color is just a way of being born different, it's not something that you personally decide and you should definitely not be hung for it. "And then there was a fierce sense of aesthetics, an obsession with purity, a dislike for the way the poles and wires marred a landscape...". The obsession with "purity" was the mentality of the common...
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