Introduction

Analepsis is a rhetorical device used to create emphasis. It is characterized by the repetition of a word or phrase such as the line in bell hooks’ (1990) “Choosing the Margin as a Site of Radical Openness.” She writes, “Language is also a place of struggle” (p. 203). This sentiment, while significant in its singular use, is repeated five more times in a subsequent paragraph. Analepsis.

If ever there was a battle cry for me to follow, this essay would be it. hooks speaks the language of struggle, articulating the occupation of space in which oppression exists as recall and reality, yet she redefines that territory as a site of resistance. This is the margin, the line that we see peripherally. We know it is there but only sometimes do we acknowledge that it exists because we continually shift our focus to what occupies the space on the inside rather than the outside. I am standing on the outside, observing the center with curiosity and contemplation. Sometimes, I have occupied that space, privileged enough to spin in careless circles like a top let go in the middle. Yet, even the smoothest revolution must eventually cease to turn, threading its wobbly way back to its resting place—dizzy from the action. Language is also a place of struggle. hooks’ words remind me of my silence, my battle to turn out phrases into the world because I find them bound and broken by too many experiences that kept my tongue tied.

This is the space of the margin, a site of resistance, yes, but more so a site of reflection. It is a place where language allows me to redefine struggle and invite others to feel the same—to take a walk with me through time and space. That space is in the margin. My voice resides here because I am speaking from the margin.

Source: hooks, b. (1990). Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural politics. Boston, MA: South End Press.
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