Evaluate the strengths of Lessing’s Speech.
Doris Lessing’s speech “On not winning the Nobel prize” is engaging, powerful and evokes empathy from the audience. Lessing was an eminent author and this coupled with the honour of winning the Nobel Prize brings great ethos to her cause of highlighting social and educational inequity. The present tense in the speech’s opening establishes immediacy, ‘I am standing in a doorway looking through clouds of dust.” Lessing provides a setting in Zimbabwe which is antithetical to the Nobel Prize venue. The notion of the gap between first and third world countries, evidenced through inequality of opportunity, especially in terms of access to books and education is an important part of Lessing’s speech. An anecdotal style is adopted to provide detailed descriptions of the daily trials of African people. Their literal and metaphoric hunger for learning that is conflated to stress how education is valued on third world countries, “people hungering for standards of education…the dust blew… Some pupils walk many miles every morning, rain or shine and across rivers”. Throughout the speech the dust motif is sustained to indicate the water scarcity. The motif literally represents the struggles and hardships of drought but metaphorically it represents the scarcity of the books needed for education as opposed to “jaded” students of the first world countries who constantly take education for granted. Aporia is shown in the line “I do not think many of the pupils at this school will get prizes” to amplify the large divide between 1st and 3rd world countries. The alliterative “Beg for books” is also a motif. The book motif is important as it represents reading as a pathway to education and empowerment which is central to the purpose of Lessing’s speech.
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