When I Wasn’t Heard

Speak up Grace. Speak louder. I can’t hear you. What is she saying? Why is she so quiet? All the things I would hear when I went to my English class of my junior year every day. “Grace can you please elaborate or explain what you are thinking, and speak up while you’re at it.” I did not want to speak louder and elaborate, that wasn’t my voice, why weren’t they listening to me, was my voice not enough? Why am I being compared to other people as no one but me has my unique voice? As I stepped foot into my senior English class I was afraid the same comments would be made like I had heard for years preceding. It was a norm in all of my English classes knowing that teachers would always say those same things to me. As every English class is in the first few classes, no one really spoke up or shared anything. My first assignment was to write an essay comparing and contrasting a piece of art connected to a piece of writing that we had read in class. I met with Mr.Wogensen after our first drafts were due to discuss anything he thought I could improve within my essay. After the initial small changes he told me I could make, he looked me straight in the eyes and said, “You’re a writer. Did you know that?” The first teacher who understood I was better at expressing myself through words, the first teacher I had who never said any of those things to me, the first teacher I had who acknowledged my quiet voice as one as great as some other “big talkers.” I finally felt like my voice was being heard because when I spoke, he listened and never told me to “speak up.” My quiet voice was heard.

A writer’s voice is something that should not be tampered with, something that should be questioned and judged but never something to strip away from someone. Writers voice’s come in many forms, written work, spoken language, hand gestures, facial expression, etc. There is not one form of a writer’s voice, as people told Karimi to “quiet herself down a little bit” others told me to “speak up.” Not one of these things is right, your voice is only yours, and you should not be forced to do anything to change it. Writers who believe in their true, honest voice are the ones who, “sp(eak) loudly” (Martirs, 173). A writer’s voice isn’t the strongest because it is the “loudest,” it is the strongest because they are the ones being authentic.

These readings highlight key points in staying true to yourself and finding a voice that digs deeper. The value in staying true to yourself while not conforming to society’s standards is the way to stay raw and honest. Find your voice the way you want it and not the way that people are telling you. Do not let societal norms pass you by and blow over your beautiful, unique voice. The value of being able to take a story from your life and share it with an audience to open up a strong essay, really lets the reader into your life in an open and unconcealed way.  The value in Karimi’s work by opening with a story and eventually getting into the true point of the essay, drags the reader along to see how he was truly affected. Martir’s initially starts off with a personal reflection which made me intrigued from the beginning because there is no mask she is hiding behind.

I would score Martir’s essay a ninety-six. I really enjoyed how she started the entire essay with an anecdote because that is what made me initially drawn to the writing. I also like the style of her writing because it is more informal but gets her point across. I also liked how she referenced many other writings and people throughout the essay because it shows a background of where she thinks and comes from.

I would score Karimi’s essay an eighty-five because I had somewhat of a hard time keeping myself engaged. I loved the message of this essay a lot though because he highlights that no one should ever just “pass” in life. I like the structure of Martir’s essay more than this one because it was easier to follow in my opinion. This score is just a little less that Martir’s because of the structure and my overall engagement with the writing.



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