A Pure, High Note of Anguish Analysis Paper

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A Pure, High Note of Anguish
By Barbara Kingsolver
Vulnerability Paper
October 25, 2011
Tammy Easler

A Pure, High Note of Anguish
“A Pure, High Note of Anguish” by Barbara Kingsolver is an essay written right after the September 11, 2011, attacks. Like many of us, Kingsolver felt a need to DO something, but did not know how to help. She decided to address some of the questions that were on everybody’s mind. One of these questions was ‘why were those children dancing in the street?’ America and the American attitude of ‘our way is the only way’ have created resentment in many countries and cultures around the world. The children dancing in the street were showing the growing consensus that America finally got what it deserved.

America has not felt the effects of war on her soil since the late 1800s, with the exception of Pearl Harbor in 1941. Yes, we have lost military men and women, but from a great distance from our home towns. We see names in the paper of fallen heroes, and clips on television of war-torn villages, but it does not feel real. The full impact of what war is did not hit home until it actually ‘hit home’. We were not prepared to see our buildings attacked or our citizens killed while going about their daily lives. We were numb with shock that this could happen to us. How dare they attack us on our own country! We are America! We attack other countries; we drop bombs and destroy other villages. But we do it to save people; to bring democracy to all those other countries that are doing it all wrong. Kingsolver states that “Some people believe our country needed to learn how to hurt in this new way,” (p. 461) and that “…many people before us have learned honest truths from wrongful deaths.” (p. 461) Europeans learned this lesson in WWI and WWII. Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East have all lived with the fear and anger generated by another country, usually led by Americans, which do not agree with their politics or...
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